Erectile dysfunction criteria of 131,350 patients after open, laparoscopic, and robotic radical prostatectomy.

Comparing post-radical prostatectomy erectile function rates among different techniques has always been a challenge in urology. This difficulty is due to the heterogeneity of studies, mainly in relation to the type of erectile function classification criteria used. The aim is to apply a new evidence-gathering methodology, called reverse systematic review, to compare erectile function rates among retropubic radical prostatectomy, laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, and robot-assisted radical prostatectomy, considering the diversity of classification criteria.

A search was carried out in eight databases between 2000 and 2020 through systematic review studies referring to retropubic radical prostatectomy, laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, or robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (80 systematic reviews). All references used in these systematic reviews were captured by referring to 910 papers in a global database called EVIDENCE. A total of 268 studies related to post-prostatectomy erectile function rates were selected for the final analysis, totaling 465 cohorts or reports referring to 131,350 patients.

Note that, 119 (25.6%) reports for retropubic radical prostatectomy, 143 (30.7%) reports for laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, and 203 (43.7%) reports for robot-assisted radical prostatectomy were found. Mean overall erectile function rates, respectively for retropubic radical prostatectomy, laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, and robot-assisted radical prostatectomy, were: 16%, 12%, and 35% at 1 month, 22%, 26%, and 42% in 3 months; 30%, 44%, and 54% at 6 months, 41%, 55%, and 59% at 12 months, and 58%, 52%, and 67% at more than 18 months. The most used erectile function criterion was Erection Sufficient for Intercourse (74.1%), followed by Sexual Health Inventory for Men > 21 (5.5%), and Sexual Health Inventory for Men > 16 (3.7%). Erection Sufficient for Intercourse showed the lowest discrepancy in erectile function rates in each period compared to the global average, for each technique, demonstrating less ability to influence the final results, favoring any of the techniques.

The reverse systematic review demonstrated that the robot-assisted radical prostatectomy showed higher rates of erectile function recovery at all times analyzed (1->18 months), in relation to the retropubic radical prostatectomy and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. The Erection Sufficient for Intercourse criterion was the most used in the literature and showed the lowest bias capable of influencing the results and favoring any of the techniques and might be the fairest option for future comparisons.

Andrology. 2024 Mar 20 [Epub ahead of print]

Tomás Bernardo Costa Moretti, Luís Alberto Magna, Leonardo Oliveira Reis

Doctoral Program in Medical Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas - UNICAMP, Campinas, Brazil., Department of Medical Genetics, State University of Campinas - UNICAMP, Campinas, Brazil.