Purpose: We evaluated the sexual function of patients who underwent laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. We assessed the effect of unilateral or bilateral preservation of the neurovascular bundle on the ability to achieve erections and have sexual intercourse postoperatively. Material and Methods: Between May 1998 and September 2001, 232 men underwent laparoscopic radical prostatectomy for localized prostate cancer at our institution. Sexual function questionnaires were given to the patients preoperatively. The study included 143 patients who were potent preoperatively. After the procedure the surgeon noted whether he performed unilateral, bilateral or no nerve sparing. Sexual function questionnaires were collected at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after surgery. Results: Of the 143 patients, 100, 80, 48 and 26 responded to the questionnaire at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months respectively. Of the nonnerve sparing group 11.7%, 11.1%, 16.6% and 30%, of the unilateral nerve sparing group 20%, 35%, 41.6% and 50% and of the bilateral nerve sparing group 32.5%, 41.1%, 29.1% and 87.5% respectively reported spontaneous erections 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after surgery, respectively. The overall incidence of positive lateral surgical margins in pT2 cases treated with a nerve sparing procedure was 8.4%. Conclusions: The overall rate of patients who had erections preoperatively and maintained erections after surgery (53.8%) is comparable to the results for open surgery. Patients with bilateral preservation did better than those with unilateral preservation. Our preliminary results show a promising rate of potency at 1 year after laparoscopic radical prostatectomy.
- Penile erection