Achieving Intimacy After Cancer

Oct 24, 2011 Full story: MyFoxPhilly 13

When it comes to difficulty attaining intimacy after a cancer diagnosis, most people think immediately of breast cancer.

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LAWRENCE A SMILEY MD

Wayne, NJ

#1 Oct 24, 2011
PENILE REHABILITATION AFTER PROSTATE CANCER SURGERY OR RADIATION

The goal of penile rehabilitation is to help men maintain and preserve their ability to get a good solid erection after prostate surgery or a prostate procedure. Ideally, a patient should be evaluated a few weeks before his surgery or procedure to determine his current level of erectile function. This would be done using penile injections.

Beginning approximately 2 - 3 weeks after the surgery or procedure and continuing for 12-24 months after that, an aggressive program of penile rehabilitation allows the patient to regularly achieve and maintain a good solid erection. This is usually achieved by the use of penile injection therapy.

Even in the hands of the best and most experienced surgeons, prostate procedures run the risk of causing temporary or permanent damage to the nerves and blood vessels that supply the penis. These procedures include total abdominal or radical prostatectomy, nerve sparing prostatectomy, TURP or trans-urethral prostatectomy, TUNA or trans-urethral needle ablation, TUMT or trans-urethral microwave therapy, TUIP or trans-urethral incision prostatectomy, ILC or interstitial laser coagulation, cryosurgery or cryoablation, PVP or laser Greenlight photo sensitive vaporization, seed implant radiation, external beam radiation and chemotherapy with anti-androgen therapy like Lupron.

After all of these procedures, the nerves are often traumatized and the messages from the brain to cause an erection do not reach the penis. Without frequent erections, the level of oxygenation in the penis is poor and injury to the smooth muscle of the penis may result. This usually leads to scarring of the erectile chambers of the penis and loss of elasticity, both causing permanent erectile dysfunction.

In most instances the nerves to the penis are merely traumatized and not permanently damaged. It usually takes 1-2 years for the nerve function to return to normal. This period of time when the nerves are healing but not yet functioning normally is when a penile rehabilitation program is so important.

Penile rehabilitation or penile rehab will maximize the chances of keeping the penile tissue healthy so they will function normally when the nerves are healed. This is why penile rehabilitation is also known as erectile function preservation.
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In our practice, our success rate in achieving a good solid erection for these men during this critically important period is well over 90%. By enabling a man to get several solid erections each week lasting 30 - 45 minutes each, the chances of preserving his ability to get erections going forward is significantly enhanced. Penile injection therapy will maximize the chances of a man having his sexual function return fully to his pre-operative or pre-procedure state.

For men who already have some degree of erectile dysfunction, penile injection therapy allows most men to obtain good solid erections. While this treatment will usually not cure a patient's erectile dysfunction, it will go a long way towards preventing it from getting substantially worse.

Many men see an improvement in their erections after having used penile injection therapy for some time. Frequent erections are necessary for the penile blood vessels and tissues to stay healthy and penile rehabilitation allows this to happen for most men. And of course, the use of penile injections will enable almost all men to have good solid erections and a rewarding sexual relationship.

Penile rehabilitation is most effective when started within a few weeks of a prostate surgery or procedure. If this is not possible, penile rehabilitation should begin as soon as it practicle to do so.

Please visit my website for more information on penile rehabilitation:

http://www.mensmedicalnewyork.com

Lawrence A. Smiley, M.D.
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