Current rehabilitation strategy: clinical evidence for erection recovery after radical prostatectomy
Erectile function (EF) recovery remains a prominent functional outcome underachievement of radical prostatectomy (RP), despite the success of anatomic “nerve-sparing” technique and its recent refinements in the modern surgical era. Delayed (for as much as a few years) or incomplete (partial and unusable) EF recovery commonly occurs in many men still today undergoing this surgery. “Penile rehabilitation”, alternatively termed “EF rehabilitation”, originated formally as a therapeutic practice approximately 15 years ago for addressing post-RP erectile dysfunction (ED) beyond conventional ED management. Although the premise of this therapy is conceptually sound and generally accepted, in reference to the implementation of strategies for promoting EF recovery to a naturally functional level in the absence of erectile aids (distinct from the premise of conventional ED management), the optimal manner and efficacy of currently suggested therapeutic strategies are far less established. Such strategies include regimens of standard ED-specific therapies (e.g., oral, intracavernosal, and intraurethral pharmacotherapies; vacuum erection device therapy) and courses of innovative interventions (e.g., statins, erythropoietin, angiotensin receptor blockers). An endeavor in evolution, erection rehabilitation may ideally comprise an integrative program of sexual health management incorporating counseling, coaching, guidance toward general health optimization and application of demonstrably effective “rehabilitative” interventions. Ongoing intensive discovery and rigorous investigation are required to establish efficacy of therapeutic prospects that fulfill the intent of post-RP erection rehabilitation.