ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. While treatments can be very successful for this form of cancer, they can also leave patients with unwanted side effects like erectile dysfunction. Now, an innovative procedure may be the breakthrough many men have waited for.
About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lives. And after 65, that number jumps to six in ten. While surgery is often an effective treatment, it can leave men with an embarrassing problem: erectile dysfunction.
Richard Gaines, MD, Preventative Medicine says, “There’s a little taboo to it, much less so than twenty years ago, but there’s still a sense of it being uncomfortable. Doctors are uncomfortable asking their patients about it.”
Standard surgery known as a “nerve-sparing” prostatectomy removes the prostate and seminal vesicles. Studies have shown about half of men who can have an erection before surgery won’t maintain this ability long-term. Drugs like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra can help, but they won’t fix the problem.
“These are just band-aids,” continued Dr. Gaines.
Now, Australian doctors have performed a breakthrough procedure that seems to reverse erectile dysfunction. The “end-to-side” surgery involves removing the sural nerve from the patient’s leg and grafting it to the side of the femoral nerve in the thigh so that the new fibers grow into spongy tissue in the penis. In a study of 17 patients who had a prostatectomy, 71 percent had their erectile function restored and two participants achieved their first erection in 12 years! A novel procedure that could be a game-changer for many men in the future.
The only side effects reported with this new procedure were two minor wound infections and three patients with temporary weakness in their quadriceps. Researchers say this technique is much less invasive than penile prosthesis surgery.