Objectives. To confirm the benefit of using an interposition sural nerve graft at the time of radical retropubic prostatectomy in an extended series of men with at least 1 year of follow-up. We previously reported the return of erectile function after resection of both cavernous nerves. Methods. Twenty-eight potent men with clinically localized prostate cancer underwent radical retropubic prostatectomy with deliberate wide bilateral neurovascular bundle resection and the placement of bilateral nerve grafts. Erectile dysfunction questionnaires and patient interviews were completed at 6-month intervals. A minimum of 12 months of follow-up (mean 23 ± 10 months) was obtained for 23 men (mean age 58 ± 6 years). A control group of 12 men who underwent bilateral nerve resections, but declined nerve graft placement, was also followed up. Results. Of the 23 men, 6 (26%) had spontaneous, medically unassisted erections sufficient for sexual intercourse with vaginal penetration. An additional 6 men (26%) described "40% to 60%" spontaneous erections (fullness, no rigidity, not able to penetrate). Ten men (43%) had intercourse with sildenafil. No demonstrable erections occurred before 5 months postoperatively. The greatest return of function thus far was observed at 18 months after surgery. Conclusions. This surgical technique continues to show promise as an advance in prostate cancer surgery. The results of this study demonstrated recovery of erectile function in men who underwent bilateral nerve graft placement during radical retropubic prostatectomy when both cavernous nerves were deliberately resected.
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