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J Sex Med. 2016 Mar;13(3):435-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.01.005.

Recovery of Baseline Erectile Function in Men Following Radical Prostatectomy for High-Risk Prostate Cancer: A Prospective Analysis Using Validated Measures.

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Department of Urology, University College London Hospital, London, UK. Electronic address:
Department of Urology, Guy's and St. Thomas hospital, London, UK.
Department of Urology, University College London Hospital, London, UK.
Department of Urology, Whipps Cross University Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK.
Department of Urology, University College London Hospital, London, UK; Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London, London, UK.



Recovery of baseline erectile function (EF) after robotic radical prostatectomy in men with high-risk prostate cancer is under-reported. Published studies have selectively reported on low-risk disease using non-validated and poorly defined thresholds for EF recovery.


To assess return to baseline EF in men after robotic radical prostatectomy for high-risk prostate cancer.


Five hundred thirty-one men underwent robotic radical prostatectomy for high-risk prostate cancer from February 2010 through July 2014. Pre- and postoperative EF was prospectively assessed using the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction (IIEF-5) questionnaire. Multivariate logistic regression analysis determined the effect of age, preoperative function, comorbidities, body mass index, prostate-specific antigen level, cancer stage or grade, nerve-sparing status, adjuvant therapy, and continence on EF return (defined as postoperative return to baseline EF with or without use of phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors). Kaplan-Meier analysis and log-rank test were used to analyze return over time. Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare IIEF-5 scores.


Pre- and postoperative EF was assessed using the IIEF-5 Sexual Health Inventory for Men at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, and 4 years postoperatively.


Overall, return of EF was seen in 23.5% of patients at 18 months. This was significantly increased in men no older than 60 years (P = .024), with a preoperative IIEF-5 score of at least 22 (P = .042), and after undergoing neurovascular bundle preservation (34.9% of patients, P < .001). There was no significant change in IIEF-5 scores from 3 to 36 months in patients who were treated with phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors in the non-neurovascular bundle preservation group (P = .87), although there was significant improvement in those receiving second- or third-line therapies (P = .042). Other than preoperative hypertension (P = .03), none of the other comorbidities predicted return of EF.


In this study, 23.5% of men recovered to baseline EF. Of those who underwent bilateral neurovascular bundle preservation robotic radical prostatectomy, 70% recovered baseline EF; however, this accounted for only 9.6% of all patients. Only 4% of men who underwent non-neurovascular bundle preservation had baseline recovery with phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors up to 36 months. There was significant improvement after use of second- or third-line therapies, indicating the need for earlier institution of these treatment modalities.


Counseling; Erectile Dysfunction; Prostatectomy; Prostatic Neoplasm; Recovery of Function; Robotic

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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