Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Use It Or Lose It': New Theory About Preserving Erectile Function After Prostate Surgery

Date:
August 13, 2007
Source:
Harvard Health Publications
Summary:
Erectile dysfunction after surgery to remove the prostate (radical prostatectomy) has traditionally been attributed to nerve damage that theoretically should heal over time. But it can take as long as two years for the nerves to recover enough for a man to have an erection without the aid of drugs or devices. By that time, other damage may have occurred, according to an article in the latest issue of Perspectives on Prostate Disease.

A detailed cross section of the pelvis, showing an enlarged prostate of almost three times the regular size.
Credit: iStockphoto

Erectile dysfunction after surgery to remove the prostate (radical prostatectomy) has traditionally been attributed to nerve damage that theoretically should heal over time. But it can take as long as two years for the nerves to recover enough for a man to have an erection without the aid of drugs or devices.

Related Articles


By that time, other damage may have occurred, according to an article in the latest issue of Perspectives on Prostate Disease.

The Harvard Medical School bulletin notes that when the penis is flaccid for long periods of time, it is deprived of a lot of oxygen-rich blood. Recent research suggests that this low oxygen level causes some muscle cells in the penis’s erectile tissue to lose their flexibility. The tissue gradually becomes more like scar tissue, interfering with the penis’s ability to expand when it’s filled with blood.

Therefore, the traditional advice given to men—to wait for erectile function to return on its own—may not be adequate. Simply put, erections seem to work on a use-it-or-lose-it basis. To prevent the secondary damage that may occur if the penis goes too long without erections, researchers now think it’s better to restore erectile function soon after prostate removal. Treatment options include using a vacuum pump device or taking erectile dysfunction drugs by mouth or by injection into the penis.

According to Dr. Marc Garnick, editor in chief of Perspectives on Prostate Disease and a Harvard oncologist, “Although the evidence supporting this ‘penile rehabilitation’ isn’t perfect, you may want to ask your doctor about the options. Such early intervention may help increase the odds that you will regain erectile function.”

Also covered in the 48-page report:

  • Alternative therapies for prostate cancer
  • Handling a prostate cancer relapse
  • Surgical options for benign prostatic hyperplasia

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard Health Publications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Harvard Health Publications. "'Use It Or Lose It': New Theory About Preserving Erectile Function After Prostate Surgery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070811222739.htm>.
Harvard Health Publications. (2007, August 13). 'Use It Or Lose It': New Theory About Preserving Erectile Function After Prostate Surgery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070811222739.htm
Harvard Health Publications. "'Use It Or Lose It': New Theory About Preserving Erectile Function After Prostate Surgery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070811222739.htm (accessed March 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Rehab Robot Helps Restore Damaged Muscles and Nerves

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 1, 2015) A rehabilitation robot prototype to help restore deteriorated nerves and muscles using electromyography and computer games. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Could a $34 Smartphone Device Improve HIV Diagnosis in Africa?

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 27, 2015) A dongle that plugs into a Smartphone mimics a lab-based blood test for HIV and syphilis and can detect the diseases in 15 minutes, say researchers. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Doctor Says Head Transplants Possible Within Two Years

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) An Italian doctor is saying he could stick someone&apos;s head onto someone else&apos;s body. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) reports. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

How Your Dentist Could Help Screen You For Diabetes

Newsy (Feb. 27, 2015) A new study from researchers at New York University suggests dentists could soon use blood samples taken from patients&apos; mouths to test for diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins