An update on the current status and future prospects of erectile dysfunction following radical prostatectomy

Asker H., Yilmaz-Oral D., Oztekin C. V., GÜR S.

Prostate, vol.82, no.12, pp.1135-1161, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 82 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/pros.24366
  • Journal Name: Prostate
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Gender Studies Database, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.1135-1161
  • Keywords: cavernous nerve injury, erectile dysfunction, phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, radical prostatectomy, stem cell therapy
  • Lokman Hekim University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Radical prostatectomy (RP) and radiation treatment are standard options for localized prostate cancer. Even though nerve-sparing techniques have been increasingly utilized in RP, erectile dysfunction (ED) due to neuropraxia remains a frequent complication. Erectile function recovery rates after RP remain unsatisfactory, and many men still suffer despite the availability of various therapies. Objective: This systematic review aims to summarize the current treatments for post-RP-ED, assess the underlying pathological mechanisms, and emphasize promising therapeutic strategies based on the evidence from basic research. Method: Evaluation and review of articles on the relevant topic published between 2010 and 2021, which are indexed and listed in the PubMed database. Results: Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, intracavernosal and intraurethral injections, vacuum erection devices, pelvic muscle training, and surgical procedures are utilized for penile rehabilitation. Clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of erectogenic drugs in this setting are conflicting and far from being conclusive. The use of androgen deprivation therapy in certain scenarios after RP further exacerbates the already problematic situation and emphasizes the need for effective treatment strategies. Conclusion: This article is a detailed overview focusing on the pathophysiology and mechanism of the nerve injury developed during RP and a compilation of various strategies to induce cavernous nerve regeneration to improve erectile function (EF). These strategies include stem cell therapy, gene therapy, growth factors, low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy, immunophilins, and various pharmacological approaches that have induced improvements in EF in experimental models of cavernous nerve injury. Many of the mentioned strategies can improve EF following RP if transformed into clinically applicable safe, and effective techniques with reproducible outcomes.