Management of erectile dysfunction following radical prostatectomy
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Radical prostatectomy is the standard treatment for organ/ specimen-confined prostate cancer, yet erectile dysfunction in selected series is still reported as high as 90% after this procedure. Thus, most men need adjuvant treatments to be sexually active following radical prostatectomy. These include vacuum constriction devices, intracorporeal injections of vasoactive drugs, and transurethral dilators, all of which have reported response rates of 50% to 70%. Unfortunately, long-term compliance is suboptimal, with a discontinuation rate of nearly 50% at one year. These non-oral options should be offered on an individual basis to patients who have failed oral therapy since efficacy and compliance vary. Also, these options should be considered in the early postoperative period to enhance sexual activity and penile oxygenation, which may prevent corporeal fibrosis. Early penile rehabilitation with intracavernosal injections or vacuum constriction devices should be encouraged to increase chances for recovery of rigid erections. In patients with some preservation of nerve tissue, oral sildenafil may be effective in promoting an earlier return of erectile function. The potential impact of sildenafil and other new oral therapies should encourage urologists to continue to perform and perfect the nerve-sparing approach.
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