A photo of various medications for erectile dysfunction, including Cialis, Viagra, and Levitra.

Managing Erectile Dysfunction after Prostate Surgery

  • A common sexual side effect men face after prostate cancer surgery is erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve or sustain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse often caused by medications, chronic illnesses or poor blood flow to the penis).

    A photo of various medications for erectile dysfunction, including Cialis, Viagra, and Levitra.

    It is important to note that this condition can be managed through various treatment options. The time necessary to recover this function is dependent on multiple factors such as the individual’s general state of health before surgery, preexisting medical conditions and age and function prior to surgery.  A few men may recover their function within weeks or months without the help of any medications or devices. However, most men will see a gradual return of their function over a period of months or years.

    One question often raised is whether one treatment or medication is superior to others. In general, the medication that works for that particular patient is the one that is superior. For example, oral medications such as Viagra, Levitra or Cialis (PDE 5 inhibitors) often help to provide more blood flow and stronger erections. A vacuum erection device can also be an effective tool in helping a man obtain strong enough erection for sexual activity. Local therapy with MUSE (Intra-Urethral Suppository) or injections has also been effective in recovering sufficient erections. Studies have shown that most men recover their function and are able to have sufficient erections with the help of one or more of these therapies.

    A diagram showing a short metal rod with a circular end inserting a penis, with the words "MUSE (alprostadil)" above it.

    Fox Chase Cancer Center offers a unique erectile dysfunction clinic where patients can receive guidance on the advantages and disadvantages of these various treatments. To make an appointment in my clinic, please call 1-888-FOX CHASE.