How to Have Healthy Sex After Prostate Surgery

Men facing prostate cancer experience a wide range of emotions and fears about treatment, survival and cure. Robotic prostatectomy procedures, performed to remove the prostate gland and all surrounding cancer, provides very good results but can add to the fears that men have. Primarily, men want to know if they will be able to have and enjoy sex after prostate cancer treatment.

How to have healthy sex after prostate surgery

How to have healthy sex after prostate surgery

Prior to the advent of laparoscopic and robotic techniques to remove the prostate gland, open, abdominal surgery was the standard. During these procedures, it was very difficult for the surgeon to see the tiny nerves responsible for erectile functioning and they were often severed unintentionally. As a result, men typically experienced changes in their ability to have sex after prostate removal. Today, robotic radical prostatectomy provides the surgeon with a magnified view of the prostate gland, along with increased precision and dexterity, greatly reducing the risk of damage to nerves vital to erectile functioning.

Dr. Samadi maintains that prostate surgery recovery means a return to the patient’s normal quality of life. “I consider robotic surgery successful when the cancer is cured and the patient has full continence and potency. All three criteriamust be met for me to consider the surgery a success.” Dr. Samadi employs a start-to-finish approach, including individualized evaluation of sexual functionprior to radical prostatectomy and assessment of options to aid in the return ofsexual function after prostate surgery.

Robotic radical prostatectomy using the da Vinci Surgical System is the commonly recommended treatment for men with localized prostate cancer. The da Vinci system’s greatly magnified visualization and sensitive electronics permit Dr. Samadi to perform highly precise movements at the surgical site. This allows for cleaner removal of the cancerous tissue and results in overall superior clinical outcomes when compared to open and laparoscopic prostatectomy procedures. Using his own SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique), Dr. Samadi is able to spare the nerves critical for sexual function.Prostate surgery recovery is then faster, with an improved outlook for regaining the ability to have sex after prostate removal. SMART surgery also mitigates the risks associated with incontinence after prostate surgery.

The resumption of sexual potency can take up to 12 months, or longer depending on the complexity of the prostatectomy surgery. It’s not uncommon for men to experience ED after prostate surgery, particularly during the weeks immediately following the procedure. However, this is not an indication of the long-term sexual potency of a patient. On-going post-operative communication is part of Dr. Samadi’s comprehensive approach to ED after prostate cancer treatment.

Using Viagra After Prostate Surgery

While the use of Viagra (sildenafil) has become fairly mainstream, most men would certainly opt for the sexual potency to go without it. Whether man-to-man or patient-to-doctor, many Viagra discussions are initiated with, “Will I need Viagra after prostate cancer?” The answer, I believe, may be found in the treatment path a man chooses.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) after prostate cancer is a common concern and much can be read about sexual potency after prostate cancer treatment. Viagra is effective in helping men achieve erections after prostate cancer, but the duration of use may be directed by the treatment. My SMART (Samadi Modified Advanced Robotic Technique) procedure yields sexual potency in 85% of men just 12-24 months after surgery.

Some men are comfortable assuming Viagra will save the day regardless of treatment choice or outcome. Others focus on selecting a treatment path, such as robotic prostatectomy, that is more likely to deliver a natural sex life after prostate cancer.

A recent study at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center found improved sexual function in men who took Viagra before, during, and after radiation therapy; however, the length of time Viagra is needed requires further study.

This is an important distinction for men and their partners to consider. With SMART surgery men tend to experience continued improvement in their sexual potency in the weeks and months following surgery. Short-term use of Viagra can help. In contrast, sexual potency after radiation does not typically improve with time and Viagra or other ED treatments may be required long-term or permanently.

The hope for all men is that spontaneous erections are fully restored but many factors outside of treatment choice, such as age and prior erectile function, also play a role.

Viagra and other similar medications can be useful tools for penile rehabilitation after prostate cancer. But Viagra doesn’t work for everyone and it may not be safe for everyone, especially those with heart conditions.

I work closely with patients and their partners during every phase of prostate cancer treatment and recovery. As needed, I assist men with ED medication and even penile implant referrals, should potency issues remain.