``These findings should encourage urologists to continue to perform and perfect the nerve-sparing approach to give their patients the best chance of successful treatment for impotence after prostatectomy,'' write the researchers, led by Dr. Craig D. Zippe of The Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio.
and colleagues tested Viagra
, a drug that results in increased blood flow to the penis, on 28 men who had undergone prostatectomy roughly a year earlier.
Fifteen of the men had had bilateral nerve-sparing surgery, which left both sets of penile nerves intact.
Another 3 had had unilateral nerve sparing surgery, which left 1 set intact.
The remaining 10 had had non-nerve sparing surgery.
and colleagues interviewed the men and their spouses both before the men tried Viagra
, also known as sildenafil citrate, and after the men had taken the drug.
Of the men who had had bilateral nerve sparing surgery, 80% had erections sufficient for intercourse after taking 1 to 3 doses of Viagra
Moreover, 80% of the spouses of the men who had had bilateral nerve sparing surgery reported being satisfied with intercourse after their partners took Viagra
, the researchers report.
In contrast, none of the men who had erectile dysfunction after either unilateral nerve sparing surgery or non-nerve sparing surgery responded to the drug, according to Zippe
Since all of the men in the study had undergone surgery about a year prior to starting Viagra, it is ``quite possible that earlier initiation of sildenafil might increase the positive response rate,'' in men who have had either unilateral or non-nerve-sparing prostatectomy, Zippe and colleagues speculate.