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Summary— We have reviewed 500 consecutive prostatectomies with a follow-up period of between 5 and 8 years; 184 surviving patients were sent a questionnaire and patients with residual urinary symptoms were interviewed, examined and a flow rate was performed. The operative mortality rate was 0.5%. Patients who presented with retention of urine had a high mortality rate in the first 3 years after the operation. Thirty-six per cent of surviving patients with chronic retention and 24% of those who underwent elective prostatectomy had residual urinary symptoms at the time of the study. Of patients who were sexually active pre-operatively, 34% felt that the operation was responsible for a deterioration in their sex lives. The incidence of retrograde ejaculation was 93%.

It was concluded that prostatectomy is a safe operation with good patient acceptability. Patients with symptoms of prostatism require careful evaluation before prostatectomy and sexually active patients should be warned of the risks of impotence and decreased satisfaction due to retrograde ejaculation.