Sexual Recovery

All treatments aimed at eradicating localised prostate cancer carry a risk of impotence and may include erection problems, ejaculation disturbance or loss of libido or interest. However, sexual recovery is part of your journey to good health.

The therapy for erection problems is initially medications such as Sildenafil (Viagra), Vardenafil (Cialis) or Tardanefil (Levitra). If oral medications taken correctly at maximum dosage are unsuccessful or if they have side effects then other options include using vacuum constriction devices, penile injection therapy or if all else fails a penile implant.

There is evidence to suggest that the early encouragement of erections after surgery for prostate cancer appears to be beneficial to the ultimate recovery of erection functioning. This involves frequent foreplay as soon as four weeks after the surgery, as well as the use of daily medications or regular use of penile injections, as a form of penile physiotherapy.

With all forms of surgery, radiotherapy or brachytherapy the volume of ejaculate is reduced or absent. Libido or sexual interest is usually maintained following all forms of treatment after the original insult of the treatment passes. When hormone therapy is used, as it is for more advanced diseases, this may unfortunately affect libido. Some forms of hormone therapy can be used to preserve both libido and erectile functioning.


Penile implant surgery is a good way to re-establish erectile function. An internal inflatable device can be surgically implanted into the penis.

Initial reaction to this is occasionally one of disbelief. However, in reality, many men use implants as they are very reliable. The devices work very well and are totally hidden. The advantages are that no injecting or ongoing costs are incurred. The implant is always there and can be activated when needed.

Disadvantages include the cost of surgery and the operation. Health funds cover the cost of an implant. Implant surgery is however, relatively straightforward and most people are home in one or two days. Recovery is relatively quick.


About Phillip

Phillip is the Chairman of the Department of Urology, St Vincent's Private Hospital and Clinic since 2003, and a Director of the St Vincent's Prostate Cancer Centre.

The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre in New South Wales recently appointed him as clinical director. He is also a member of the National Prostate Cancer Research Centre

Philip is currently the highest volume robotic surgeon in Australasia

He is perhaps best known for his work developing nerve sparing techniques to help patients maximise potency