Is laparoscopic unilateral sural nerve grafting during radical prostatectomy effective in retaining sexual potency?BJU Int. 2005 Jun; 95(9):1267-71.BI
To present a pilot study of laparoscopic unilateral sural nerve grafting during radical prostatectomy, with the aim of preserving sexual potency.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Because they had localized prostate cancer, 29 men had a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy with deliberate wide unilateral neurovascular bundle resection and preservation of the contralateral bundle. Fifteen men (group A) had an interposition sural nerve graft on the sectioned bundle, and 14 (group B) had laparoscopic radical prostatectomy with preservation of the unilateral bundle only. The men were also involved in a rehabilitation programme, and erectile function was evaluated after surgery, and at 3, 8, 12 and 18 months, using the five-item version of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-5) questionnaire.
The two groups had similar clinical characteristics (age, prostate-specific antigen level, body mass index, prostate volume, clinical stage, Gleason score before and after surgery, postoperative stage). The follow-up was complete for 12 men in group A and 10 in group B. Group A had significantly higher erectile function scores on the IIEF-5 at 12 and 18 months than immediately after surgery (P < 0.01), whereas in group B the improvement was not statistically significant. Overall, by 18 months after surgery five of 12 men in group A had achieved spontaneous unassisted erection or erection assisted with sildenafil, while three of 10 in group B achieved an erection assisted with sildenafil (not significant).
These data suggests that laparoscopic sural nerve grafting during radical prostatectomy is feasible and safe; nevertheless we cannot conclude that sural nerve grafting is more effective than preserving the neurovascular bundle alone in retaining sexual potency. More research is required to validate the effectiveness of this technique.