Nerve sparing can preserve orgasmic function in most men after robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 116, Issue 4, E3, Article first published online: 8 September 2015

Ashutosh K. Tewari, Department of Urology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 525 East 68th Street, Starr 900, New York, NY 10065, USA. e-mail:


Study Type – Therapy (case series)

Level of Evidence 4

What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?

Orgasm has a major influence on patients’ satisfaction with the overall sexual experience, and alternations in orgasm are associated with significant reductions in emotional and physical satisfaction, which in turn may lead to sexual avoidance behaviour, disharmonious relationships and relationship breakdowns. Studies have found a reduction in orgasmic function after retropublic radical prostatectomy. While open radical prostatectomy inevitably damages some pelvic neuronal circuitry, which will thus impact on orgasmic responses, there is a paucity of data investigating the effect on robotic assisted radical prostatectomy on this.

To our knowledge this study represents the largest analysis of orgasmic function in the robotic prostatectomy literature, and therefore would be of value to surgeons in counseling candidates for RALP about orgasmic outcomes. In our series, young men (age ≤60 years) and those who underwent bilateral nerve sparing approaches had a better recovery of their premorbid orgasmic function when compared to older men or men with no nerve sparing.


  • • To investigate orgasmic outcomes in patients undergoing robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (RALP) and the effects of age and nerve sparing on these outcomes.


  • • Between January 2005 and June 2007, 708 patients underwent RALP at our institution.
  • • We analysed postoperative potency and orgasmic outcomes in the 408 men, of the 708, who were potent, able to achieve orgasm preoperatively and available for follow-up.


  • • Of men aged ≤60 years, 88.4% (198/224) were able to achieve orgasm postoperatively in comparison to 82.6% (152/184) of older men (P < 0.001).
  • • Of patients who received bilateral nerve sparing (BNS) during surgery, 273/301 (90.7%) were able to achieve orgasm postoperatively compared with 46/56 (82.1%) patients who received unilateral nerve sparing and 31/51 (60.8%) men who received non-nerve-sparing surgery (P < 0.001).
  • • In men ≤60 years who also underwent BNS, decreased sensation of orgasm was present in 3.2% of men, and postoperative orgasmic rates were significantly better than men ≤60 years who underwent unilateral or no nerve sparing (92.9% vs 83.3% vs 65.4%, respectively; P < 0.001).
  • • Potency rates were also significantly higher in men ≤60 years and in those who underwent BNS.


  • • Age and nerve sparing influence recovery of orgasm and erectile function after RALP.
  • • Men ≤60 years old and those who undergo BNS are most likely to maintain normal sexual function.