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How Long Does Erectile Dysfunction Last After Prostate Surgery and How to Recover

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Erectile Dysfunction is a type of Sexual Dysfunction in men or assigned male at birth (AMAB). 

Various factors, such as high blood pressure and Obesity, may cause ED. 

Prostatectomy can also cause Erectile Dysfunction. Prostatectomy (or prostate surgery) is a surgery to remove the Prostate gland.

It is commonly used for treating Prostate Cancer. 

But why does Prostatectomy cause ED, and what are the effective options for treatment? 

And how long does Erectile Dysfunction last after prostate surgery?

In this article, we will discuss Prostatectomy and Erectile Dysfunction in more detail.

Why does Prostatectomy cause ED

Radiation Therapy for Prostate cancerSource: Mark_Kostich_from_Getty_Images
Radiation Therapy – Prostate cancer treatment procedure

Prostate Cancer affects 1 in 8 men. ED is not caused by Prostate Cancer.

The treatment of Prostate Cancer can cause impotence and can affect sexual performance.

Treating cancer involves:

  • Surgically removing some or all parts of the prostate gland
  • Using radiation to target and damage the cancerous cells
  • Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT)

Nerves and the blood vessels around the prostate glands are vital for erection. These nerves are very close to the prostate gland and can get affected during the radical Prostatectomy.

Individuals may experience short-term ED due to the damage or removal of nerves in surgery. 

However, it is essential to note that ED might be permanent if it lasts more than two years. 

Doctors may even perform Nerve-Sparing surgery to maintain erectile function in the penis.

The severity of ED caused due to prostate surgery depends on factors such as age, surgeon’s skills, and surgical techniques. 

How long does Erectile Dysfunction last after prostate surgery

The duration of ED can vary on several factors, such as age and the type of surgery.

Most men will experience some level of ED after the prostate surgery. 

The ED caused due to Prostatectomy is temporary.

And all men with intact nerves may see an improvement in their erection within one year. Some men may take up to two years to get their erections.

The recovery from ED who had Nerve-Sparing Prostatectomy occurs within two years.

  • 40-50% of individuals experience improvement in their erection within one year. 
  • And about 60% of the individuals will achieve their normal erection within two years.

In the case of a non-nerve-sparing surgery, ED is unlikely to be recovered, but it is possible.

It might take two to three years for an individual to see improvement in their ED after Radical Surgery.

Treatments may help in improving Erectile Dysfunction caused due to prostate surgery.

There are several treatments for ED. Consulting a doctor will help you find a suitable and effective treatment option.

How common is ED after Prostatectomy

It is very common and normal to experience ED after the Prostatectomy. 

It is normal to experience temporary erection issues. 

The research mentioned around 85% of men would report difficulties with erection after surgery.

Treating Erectile Dysfunction after prostate surgery

There are several treatments available for treating ED after prostate surgery.

Each treatment effect varies depending on an individual. Consult a doctor for an effective treatment plan. 

The following treatment options are recommended for ED post-Radical Prostatectomy.

ED medications

Taking ED medicationSource: YurolaitsAlbert_from_Getty_Images
Taking ED medication

Erectile Dysfunction medicines are proven effective and safe to use.

There are various ED pills available in the market.

Medicines like Viagra (Sildenafil), Levitra (Vardenafil), and Cialis (Tadalafil) efficiently treat impotence. 

These PDE-5 inhibitors help with ED by improving the flow of blood to the penis, which helps achieve and maintain an erection.

Each medicine works the same but has different features. 

The effect of Cialis lasts up to 36 hours. Whereas Viagra and Levitra last for only 4 to 5 hours.

Confused about which medicine will work best for you? Read the article to find out Viagra vs Cialis vs Levitra: Which is Better?

Vacuum erection devices

There are vacuum devices like penis pumps for treating ED.

By creating a vacuum around the penis, they draw blood into the corpus cavernosum. 

Corpus cavernosum is a pair of sponge-like erectile tissues located in the penis responsible for the majority of penile or clitoral rigidity.

A constriction ring is applied at the base of the penis that prevents blood outflow and helps sustain an erection.

Intracavernosal injections

Oral medicines are generally prescribed as the first line of treatment for ED.

However, these Intracavernosal Injections (ICI) help to promote proper muscle relaxation, resulting in an erection.

These injections are usually recommended to individuals who are not able to see any improvements after taking ED meds.

Surgical implants

Surgical implants are used for treating ED only if the other treatment options are not effective in an individual.

The implant consists of an inflatable tube inserted into the penis. 

A fluid reservoir is placed in the abdomen, and a pump is placed on the scrotum.

A release button helps flow the fluid to the tube inserted into the penis, which helps achieve an erection.  

With penile implants, you can have as many erections as you like.

Penile implants may include risks such as infection, failure of the implant, and damage to the penis from the implant. 

ED medications may interact with your other medications and medical conditions. Make sure you speak with your doctor about the best medicine for your ED.

Key Insights

The treatment of Prostate cancer can cause Erectile Dysfunction.

The nerves and blood vessels around the prostate glands can be damaged during the Prostatectomy. 

A person can experience a short-term ED after the surgery.

Several factors, such as age and surgical method, can affect the duration of ED.

Individuals may see an improvement in their ED within one to two years of Prostatectomy.

The ED caused after prostate surgery is very common and can be treated.

ED meds, surgical implants, vacuum erection devices, and injections are some treatments for treating ED after prostate surgery.

The doctor may suggest these treatments based on the severity of your impotence. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Erectile Dysfunction permanent after prostate surgery?

An individual can witness improvements in ED within 1 to 2 years of the surgery. However, if the ED stays longer than two years, it will most likely be permanent.

How long does it take for nerves to heal after prostate surgery?

The healing of nerves can take several months to three years after prostate surgery.

Can I take Viagra after prostate surgery?

Yes, you can take Viagra after the nerves are healed. Viagra and other meds can help in improving ED caused by prostate surgery. It is essential to consult with your doctor before taking Viagra.

What are the common problems after prostate surgery?

Common side effects after surgery are urinary incontinence, Erectile Dysfunction, fertility, and bowel function.

How can patients cope with the emotional impact of ED after prostate surgery?

After prostate surgery, managing the emotional effects of Erectile Dysfunction can be difficult. Patients may benefit from counseling, support groups, and exploring alternative treatment options.

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Photo of author Janet Fudge
Jim Carson is a highly skilled and dedicated medical writer passionate about advancing medical practice. With years of experience in the field of medical sciences, Jim has made significant contributions to various studies aimed at improving healthcare outcomes. He currently writes for, providing expert insights and knowledge on various topics. Jim's expertise extends to various areas, including drug interactions, dosages, side effects, and best practices for medication use. In Los Angeles, Jim lives with his loving wife, children, and beloved pets. He deeply values spending time with his family and cherishes their presence. When he's not writing, Jim enjoys watching football games and staying updated with the latest sports news. Jim's writing shines through his commitment to advancing medical practice and improving healthcare outcomes. Readers can trust Jim's articles to be informative, accurate, and reliable, making him a trusted pharmaceutical information source for the website's audience.
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