Nerve Sparing and Prostate Surgery

What is nerve sparing, and who needs it?

The answer is: you need it; unless you are not the one who has been diagnosed with cancer of the prostate and has to undergo a prostatectomy in order to cure the disease? or try to.

I’ll make it as simple as I can – a prostate cancer surgery, or prostatectomy requires that the surgeon remove the prostate gland, which is located under the bladder. The organ surrounds the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis (the urethra), and the organ also produces the prostate fluid, which is involved in the discharge and carriage of sperm in semen during ejaculation at the culmination of sexual intercourse. The prostate fluid is made by the seminal vesicles, two little glands that sit just above the prostate and alongside which runs the nerves that control erectile function. Worse, the nerves are attached to the sides of the prostate so that reaching the prostate and missing them entirely is hardly even thinkable.

Yet if the erectile nerves are damaged during a prostate cancer surgery ? prostatectomy ? the patient could lose his ability to achieve an erection. I do not know if it is better or worse that sexual desire and the ability to attain orgasm is not affected by this, but with the nerves damaged or severed erectile dysfunction is inevitable, one of the more common side effects of a prostate cancer surgery is impotence or erectile dysfunction.

Nerve sparing is an effort made by the surgeon during a prostate surgery to reduce the risk of impotence from the procedure. However, although it can avoid damaging these nerves that control erection, but this nerve sparring procedure may not be achievable if the cancer happens to occur too close to the nerves in question.

When carried out with a laparoscope, it is easier to avoid damage to the erectile nerves; when done in a robotic assisted surgical procedure, the chances are better still. But even with cryosurgery that is considered to be superior to radical prostatectomy for recurrent cancer following radiation therapy, and that generally causes fewer problems with urinary control than other treatments, impotence still occurs up to a disturbing ninety percent of the time.

Some patients recover a semblance of potency after a while, but hardly ever all of it. Most patients, after the procedure, even with nerve sparring, have to use Viagra and other such interventions to aid their erectile function afterwards.

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