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Efficacy of Unilateral Nerve Sparing in Radical Perineal Prostatectomy

Brehmer B.a · Kirschner-Hermanns R.a · Donner A.b · Reineke T.a · Knüchel-Clarke R.b · Jakse G.a
aUrological Clinic and bDepartment of Pathology, University Clinic, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Aachen, Germany Urol Int 2005;74:308–314 (DOI:10.1159/000084428)


Aim: We determine the efficacy of unilateral nerve-sparing radical perineal prostatectomy in preserving the sexual function. Patients and Methods: Ninety-two patients with histologically confirmed unilateral prostate cancer were scheduled for contralateral nerve preservation. The perioperative morbidity was assessed using the patients’ chart reviews. Postoperative health-related quality of life, urinary continence, and potency were evaluated prospectively with questionnaires provided before surgery and then after 6, 12, and 24 months. Results: Unilateral nerve preservation was performed in 88 of the 92 patients. Due to extensive scarring or prostatic size, the procedure was terminated as regular radical prostatectomy in 4 other patients. The perioperative complication rate was low and of minor significance, except in 1 patient who experienced a significant myoglobulinuria due to a prolonged procedure. Blood transfusions were necessary in 5 (5.4%) patients. Ureteral reimplantation was performed in 1 patient because of ureteral stricture. Positive surgical margins were present in 12 (18%) of 67 pT2 patients and in 8 (35%) of 23 pT3 patients. A proportion of 48% (15/31) of the patients followed for more than 24 months and who had a good erectile function prior to surgery reported unassisted sexual intercourse. However, only 4 of these patients were completely satisfied with all aspects of sexual performance, as asked in a short version of the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire. Conclusions: Unilateral nerve-sparing radical perineal prostatectomy is technically feasible and yields excellent results in terms of potency preservation for prostates <60 ml. However, the quality of erections is decreased, even in patients with erections sufficient for intercourse. Hence, appropriate sexual counseling in conjunction with medical therapy should be offered to all patients.


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