Can I get urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction if I undergo robotic prostatectomy?

In some cases, urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction can be temporary effects of prostatectomy because of weakened or distressed muscles that need time to heal.

A prostatectomy is an effective procedure meant to get rid of prostate cancer by removing the prostate gland. The most frequent complications of this surgery are:

  • urinary incontinence: occurs as a result of the disruption to the sphincter muscles, which control the release of the urine
  • erectile dysfunction: ensues as a consequence of weakened nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. The nerves contributing to the erectile function can be affected during prostatectomy as they are close to the prostate gland, so, after the removal of the prostate, the erectile function can be lost

Regaining urinary and erectile functions after prostatectomy

  • in case of urinary incontinence: when the catheter is removed, you will experience the improvement of bladder control. Most people regain normal continence between 3-18 months after the surgery
  • in case of erectile dysfunction: regaining erection depends on many factors like age, sexual function prior to the operation, medical condition (whether the nerves were spared), medications, emotional state, and stress. Time for recovering the erectile function varies between 1-2 years after prostatectomy

Using robot-assisted surgery allows the surgeon to see every little detail inside the surgical field due to the high-quality vision system. The 3D lens cameras offer up to 10 times the naked eye view's magnification, which helps the surgeon avoid damaging the nerves and muscles responsible for these two functions.


Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/