World Journal of Urology

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 29–34

Is a return to baseline sexual function possible? An analysis of sexual function outcomes following laparoscopic radical prostatectomy

  • Adam W. Levinson
  • Hugh J. Lavery
  • Nicholas T. Ward
  • Li-Ming Su
  • Christian P. Pavlovich
Topic Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00345-010-0616-5

Cite this article as:
Levinson, A.W., Lavery, H.J., Ward, N.T. et al. World J Urol (2011) 29: 29. doi:10.1007/s00345-010-0616-5



Outcome measures following radical prostatectomy are not standardized. Though excellent potency rates are widely reported, few studies address a return to baseline function. We analyze validated sexual health-related quality-of-life outcomes by a strict definition, a return to baseline function, and compare them to less stringent, yet more frequently referenced, categorical definitions of potency.


Patients undergoing laparoscopic radical prostatectomy from April 2001 to September 2007 completed the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC) questionnaire at baseline and 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. We defined a return to baseline as a recovery to greater than one-half standard deviation of the studied population below the patient’s own baseline (clinically detectable threshold). We compared these outcomes to a categorical definition of potency involving intercourse frequency. To limit confounders, we performed subset analyses of preoperatively potent men who received bilateral nerve preservation. Factors predictive of return to baseline function were assessed in multivariable analysis.


A total of 568 patients met inclusion criteria. Mean age and follow-up were 57.2 years and 16.9 months, respectively. Using the categorical definition, 85% of preoperatively potent men with bilateral nerve preservation were “potent” at 24 months; however, only 27% returned to their baseline sexual function. In multivariable analyses baseline function, number of nerves spared, and age were independent predictors of a return to baseline function.


While most preoperatively potent men who receive bilateral nerve preservation engage in intercourse postoperatively, few return to their baseline sexual function. We believe that these data provide context for the expectations of patients who elect extirpative therapy.


Radical prostatectomySexual functionQuality of lifeOutcomes assessmentLaparoscopyProstate cancerErectile dysfunction



Standard deviation


Expanded prostate cancer index composite


Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy


EPIC sexual function domain subscale


EPIC sexual domain summary score


EPIC sexual bother subscale


Health-related quality of life


International index of erectile function


Sexual health inventory for men


University of California Los Angeles prostate cancer index

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam W. Levinson
    • 1
  • Hugh J. Lavery
    • 1
  • Nicholas T. Ward
    • 2
  • Li-Ming Su
    • 3
  • Christian P. Pavlovich
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery, Department of UrologyMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.James Buchanan Brady Urological InstituteJohns Hopkins Medical InstitutionsBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Department of UrologyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA