Objectives: To determine whether postoperative methylprednisolone improves the recovery of sexual function after nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy.
Methods: We randomized men undergoing bilateral nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy by a single surgeon to receive 6 days of placebo or methylprednisolone beginning on postoperative day 1. At 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively, we assessed potency with the abbreviated International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire and urinary continence with participant-reported pad use. We used the chi-square test, Fisher's exact test, and the two-sample t test with equal variances for comparisons between study groups.
Results: No operative complications occurred and 70 (100%) of 70 participants experienced normal wound healing. The odds of being potent for participants who received methylprednisolone (n = 34) compared with those who received placebo (n = 36) did not significantly differ at 3 (odds ratio 0.29, 95% confidence interval 0.08 to 1.05), 6 (odds ratio 0.63, 95% confidence interval 0.17 to 2.4), or 12 (odds ratio 1.18, 95% confidence interval 0.29 to 4.8) months. The mean International Index of Erectile Function scores did not significantly differ at 3 (P = 0.08), 6 (P = 0.50), or 12 (P = 0.71) months. At 12 months, 74% of the methylprednisolone and 71% of the placebo participants were potent (P = 0.8). The proportions of participants who were continent did not differ significantly at 3 (P = 0.89), 6 (P = 0.25), or 12 (P = 0.49) months. At 12 months, 96% of the methylprednisolone and 100% of the placebo participants were continent.
Conclusions: At doses sufficient to produce a systemic anti-inflammatory effect, postoperative methylprednisolone was not associated with improved potency at up to 12 months after bilateral nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy in men 40 to 60 years old.