A prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland) is a standard treatment for prostate cancer and has a good rate of success in curing the cancer. Unfortunately, the prostatectomy procedure can cause nerve damage to surrounding tissues and as a result many men experience erectile dysfunction that is not easily treatable using usual therapies.
A surgical team based in Melbourne have refined a nerve grafting technique that involves removing nerves from the lower legs and grafting them to make a new connection between the major nerve in the upper thigh and the muscle tissue in the penis. This technique aims to resupply the penis with nerve function previously lost.
The results, published in the journal European Urology, showed that the refined nerve grafting technique successfully restored erectile function in 71% (12/17) men who were in the study. This outcome has great promise for overcoming the inevitable side effects of prostatectomy that affect sexual function.