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Urology. 1996 Sep;48(3):433-40.

A prospective study of quantification of urinary incontinence and quality of life in patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy.

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Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin at Madison 53792, USA.



To prospectively evaluate the level of urinary incontinence and its impact on quality of life in patients undergoing radical retropubic prostatectomy.


Patients completed a 24-hour pad test together with an incontinence and quality-of-life questionnaire before and after surgery.


Patients were followed up for an average of 7.6 months (range 4.7 to 12.5) after radical prostatectomy. The 24-hour pad test demonstrated that 87% of patients had some incontinence at 1 month and 63% at 6 months after surgery. The median volume of urine leakage was 34 mL at the last follow-up visit; 55% of patients indicated substantial bother from incontinence at the 1-month follow-up visit and 29% at the 6-month follow-up visit. For most patients, there was a substantial discrepancy between the reported and the measured level of incontinence. Patient-reported bother regarding incontinence correlated best to the actual amount of urine loss.


Patients become incontinent after surgery but improve over time. Seventeen percent of patients still experienced leakage of more than 150 mL daily at the last follow-up visit. The questionnaire utilized in this study identifies the presence of incontinence but was not accurate in estimating the amount of urine loss. Initially, quality of life was reduced by surgery but improved over time and nearly returned to the preoperative level.

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