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TRUTH IN MEDICINE

Does prostate removal surgery cause erectile dysfunction?

Q:Does prostate removal surgery cause erectile dysfunction?

 

A: Yes. Erectile dysfunction (ED) can and often does occur after a radical prostatectomy — the complete removal of the prostate gland. That’s because the operation can sometimes injure tiny nerves, muscles and blood vessels involved in getting an erection.

If you develop ED after undergoing surgery, the problem isn’t necessarily permanent. Many men regain full sexual function over time, usually within a year, though for some it can take a few years.

If problems continue, medicines and devices can help. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines and devices during recovery to help bring back erection.

You are more likely to develop ED following surgery for prostate cancer if:

  • You are 60 or older
  • You had some evidence of erectile dysfunction before surgery
  • You are in poor health

It’s important to also point out that there are different types of treatments for prostate cancer and many men who are diagnosed don’t need to be treated right away. If you have slow-growing cancer, your doctor may recommend observation as the first phase of treatment. Watchful waiting involves monitoring changes in your symptoms and tumors.

Each treatment option for prostate cancer has different benefits and risks. Talk to your doctor about what option is best for you.

For more information about South Nassau’s Center for Prostate Health, click here.

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