To examine the impact of neurovascular bundle preservation on longitudinal health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) outcomes after anatomic radical retropubic prostatectomy (RP) using a validated questionnaire.
We examined patient-reported sexual and urinary HRQOL at baseline and at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after RP using the University of California, Los Angeles, Prostate Cancer Index among 342 patients treated between 2001 and 2004 by a single surgeon. The time to return to baseline urinary and sexual function and bother were compared between men who underwent unilateral versus bilateral nerve-sparing RP using a Cox proportional hazards regression model.
Of the 342 patients, 15 (5%), 69 (20%), and 258 (75%) had no, one, or both neurovascular bundles preserved, respectively. After adjustment for age and baseline sexual function, bilateral nerve sparing was associated with greater sexual function scores than unilateral nerve sparing at all points, although the differences only approached or reached significance at 3 (P = 0.06) and 6 (P = 0.04) months after RP. After adjustment for age and baseline sexual function, a trend was noted for an earlier return to baseline sexual function among men who underwent bilateral nerve-sparing RP (hazard ratio 1.67, 95% confidence interval 0.88 to 3.17, P = 0.12), although this did not reach significance. More than 90% of the men returned to their baseline urinary function and bother, regardless of nerve-sparing status.
In the current study, bilateral nerve-sparing RP was associated with better postoperative sexual HRQOL scores than unilateral nerve-sparing RP, although in general the differences were slight.