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Keywords:

  • erectile dysfunction;
  • penile prosthesis;
  • radical prostatectomy;
  • phosphodoesterase type 5 inhibitors

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

  • Erectile dysfunction after nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy constitutes a challenge to the urologist. The mainstay of medical treatment after radical prostatectomy to restore spontaneous erectile function remains phosphodiesterase (PDE5) inhibitors, despite the fact that data from animal studies suggesting that PDE5 inhibitors can prevent smooth muscle apoptosis and fibrosis have not yet been extrapolated to humans because of a lack of standardized protocols. If the above treatment fails, second-line therapies such as intraurethral prostaglandins, penile injection therapy and vacuum devices are offered. When less invasive therapies are ineffective, interventions that preserve sexual function such as penile prosthesis implantation become the treatment of choice.
  • Our study reveals the alternative of penile prosthesis implantation as first-line treatment in erectile dysfunction after nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy. It also highlights its superiority to the oral PDE5 inhibitor treatment, regarding the erection, frequency, firmness, maintenance and penetration ability. This suggests that a concept of an early penile intervention in the future would be promising for those patients who wish to remain sexually active without depending on oral formulations with doubtful and delayed results.

Objective

  • To evaluate the outcome of penile prosthesis surgery in comparison to oral phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor administration, in men with erectile dysfunction after nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy, as early penile intervention therapy.

Patients and Methods

  • A total of 174 patients treated by nerve-sparing retropubic radical prostatectomy (RRP) for clinically localized prostate cancer, between January 2006 and September 2009 enrolled in the study, 153 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria, and 69 (45%) patients presented with post-RRP erectile dysfunction 6 months after primary surgery.
  • Fifty-four patients were disease-free and subdivided into two arms according to treatment modality, either tadalafil three times/week or penile prosthesis implantation.
  • All patients were evaluated using the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) questionnaire preoperatively and at 6, 12 and 24 month postoperatively.
  • Repeated measurements analysis of variance was conducted to evaluate the effect of time and group on IIEF total score.

Results

  • There was a significant reduction in IIEF score from preoperative values to the first measurement after surgery in both treatment groups.
  • The overall degree of change from the first time point immediately after surgery to 2 years was greater in the penile prosthesis group than the tadalafil group (20.4 ± 1.3 vs 8.1 ± 2.4, P < 0.001).

Conclusions

  • The efficacy and satisfaction results of both treatment types are considered acceptable.
  • However, regarding the erection frequency, firmness, penetration ability, maintenance and erection confidence it seems that penile prosthesis implantation is superior to oral treatment.
  • The concept of early penile intervention should be considered and is promising for all patients with post-RRP erectile dysfunction.