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Is erectile dysfunction (ED) common after radical prostatectomy?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

It's hard to get a handle on what percentage of men will experience erectile dysfunction after having their prostates removed, the procedure known as a radical prostatectomy. However, it's fair to say that problems with erections are a very real possibility if you have a radical prostatectomy, which is performed to treat prostate cancer. Your outcome will depend on several factors, including:

  • Your age. Younger men are less likely to have erectile dysfunction after this procedure.
  • Your pre-surgery health. If you are capable of having a healthy erection before a radical prostatectomy, your odds of developing erectile dysfunction aren't as great.
  • Your surgeon. Let's face it, some surgeons are more skilled than others. Shop around for a good one.
  • Your procedure. Some surgeons are trained to perform a variation on this procedure known as a nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy, which seems to do a better job of preserving sexual functioning.

Here's another thing to keep in mind: Many men who have erectile dysfunction following a radical prostatectomy gradually regain the ability to have an erection suitable for sex. For those who don't, there are several treatment options, including medications.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.