Managing the Difficult Penile Prosthesis Patient

Authors


Corresponding Author: Wayne J.G. Hellstrom, MD, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, Department of Urology, 1430 Tulane Ave, SL-42, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA. Tel: (504) 988-3361; Fax: (504) 988-5059; E-mail: whellst@tulane.edu

Abstract

Introduction

Inflatable penile prostheses (IPPs) are associated with excellent long-term outcomes and patient/partner satisfaction. A small percentage of patients remain dissatisfied, despite acceptable surgical results.

Aims

This study aims to evaluate factors associated with patient satisfaction and dissatisfaction, define patient characteristics, which may identify elevated risk of postoperative dissatisfaction, and describe management strategies to optimize functional and psychological patient outcomes.

Methods

A review of urologic and non-urologic cosmetic surgery literature was performed to identify factors associated with patient satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Emphasis was placed on articles defining “high risk” or psychologically challenging patients.

Main Outcome Measures

Preoperative factors associated with patient satisfaction/dissatisfaction and character traits, which may identify elevated risk of postoperative dissatisfaction or otherwise indicate a psychologically challenging patient.

Results

Contemporary patient and partner satisfaction rates following IPP are 92–100% and 91–95%, respectively. Factors associated with satisfaction include decreased preoperative expectations, favorable female partner sexual function, body mass index ≤30, and absence of Peyronie's disease or prior prostatectomy. Determinants of dissatisfaction include perceived/actual loss of penile length, decreased glanular engorgement, altered erectile/ejaculatory sensation, pain, diminished cosmetic outcome, difficulty with device function, partner dissatisfaction and perception of unnatural sensation, complications, and extent of alternative treatments offered. Personality characteristics which may indicate psychologically challenging IPP patients include obsessive/compulsive tendencies, unrealistic expectations, patients undergoing revision surgery, those seeking multiple surgical opinions, feeling of entitlement, patients in denial of their prior erectile/sexual function and current disease status, or those with other psychiatric disorders. The mnemonic CURSED Patient is presented: “Compulsive/obsessive, Unrealistic, Revision, Surgeon Shopping, Entitled, Denial, and Psychiatric.”

Conclusions

Although the majority of IPP patients experience excellent, durable satisfaction and outcomes, a challenging subset of patients may be at increased risk of postoperative dissatisfaction. Appropriate recognition/prevention and management of this cohort may help to establish and strengthen relationships, reduce physical, emotional, and legal risk, and ultimately enhance patient satisfaction.

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