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.

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 July 24, 2014 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 July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. 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:
from the past week

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