The purpose of this review is to review the penile rehabilitation literature published since the beginning of 2017. Specific emphasis was placed on determining how the new findings increase our understanding of the mechanisms leading to recovery of erectile function after pelvic surgery and to identify potential focus areas for future studies.
A meta-analysis of penile rehabilitation after prostatectomy was published in early 2017 reporting that PDE-5 inhibitors, intracavernosal injection (ICI) therapy and vacuum erection devices (VED) improved erectile function; however, the benefit was not observed after a washout period. Preclinical studies have identified potential regenerative therapies after cavernous nerve injury.
While significant methodological challenges remain, recent literature suggests benefits to starting penile rehabilitation immediately after surgery, but not extending past 1 year post-operatively. The cost-benefit ratio of penile rehabilitation remains unclear; however, decreasing costs of PDE-5 inhibitors as well as improvements in characterizing post-surgical erectile dysfunction may help to personalize penile rehabilitation, improve outcomes and improve the cost-benefit ratio. Better and more consistent trial design is needed to develop the optimal regimen(s) for restoring sexual function in men. Finally, future studies to translate promising preclinical regeneration therapies to humans are also needed.
Current sexual health reports. 2018 Oct 08 [Epub]
J Scott Gabrielsen
Scott Department of Urology and Center for Reproductive Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine.