Patients' Expectations After Radical Prostatectomy May Be Unrealistic

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Patients with prostate cancer who have undergone radical prostatectomy have largely unrealistic expectations with respect to their postoperative sexual function, according to a study published online ahead of print in the journal BJU International.

Because clinical experience has suggested that some patients who have undergone radical prostatectomy have unrealistic expectations about their long-term sexual function, researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Acibadem University Medical School in Istanbul, Turkey, sought to evaluate patients' understanding of their postoperative sexual function following surgery.

For the study, researchers surveyed 336 patients who had undergone either open or robotic radical prostatectomy within the last 3 months. Participants were questioned regarding the information on sexual function they received preoperatively, as well as about sexual function, postoperative ejaculatory status, orgasm changes, and postoperative morphology changes.

Results showed that patients who had undergone robotic radical prostatectomy expected a shorter erectile function recovery time (6 months vs 12 months; P=.02), a higher chance of recovery back to baseline erectile function (75% vs 50%; P=.01), and a lower likelihood of requiring therapy to achieve an erection (4% vs 20%; P=.01).

Researchers found that nearly half of all patients were not aware that their surgery rendered them anejaculatory. The study also demonstrated only 10% of patients who underwent open radical prostatectomy and none of the patients who underwent robotic surgery recalled being informed of the possibility that they may lose penile length (P<.01).


1. Deveci S, Gotto GT, Alex B, et al. A survey of patient expectations regarding sexual function following radical prostatectomy [published online ahead of print December 21, 2015]. BJU Int. doi:10.1111/bju.13398.

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