Technique, skill may preserve men's sexual health following prostatectomy
Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancers for commonness in the U.S. Moreover, the removal of a cancerous gland can sometimes lead to sexual dysfunction or incontinence. But researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, recently concluded a study that may provide hope to men with a high risk of prostate cancer.
Authors of the study discovered that a nerve-sparing surgical technique may reduce the chances that a man experiences sexual health problems or bathroom issues following a prostatectomy. Additionally, the researchers recommended that patients seek out surgeons with skill and experience.
"Like improving a golf swing, a technique for nerve-sparing surgery has many subtleties that are influenced by training, talent, a desire to improve and meticulous review of technique and outcomes," said lead author Jim Hu, M.D.
Specifically, the team stated that men should look for a physician who has performed at least 1,000 surgeries and who continues to make efforts to enhance their skills. This is because emerging techniques have been shown to make gentle handling of the nerves a priority during a prostatectomy.
In order to reach its conclusions, the team collected post-operative surveys from 400 patients who had a prostate removal performed by Hu. They found that men experienced erectile recovery of up to 33 percent at five months following a surgery. After one year passed, Hu and his colleagues reported that recovery rates ranged from 15 to 59 percent.
"Most men will continue to see erectile-potency improvements up to two years after surgery, so we would expect to see even better outcomes by then, especially if surgeons are effectively adopting the newer nerve-sparing techniques," said Hu.