Long-term effect of early postoperative pelvic floor biofeedback on continence in men undergoing radical prostatectomy: a prospective, randomized, controlled trial

J Urol. 2010 Sep;184(3):1034-9. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.05.040.


Purpose: The impact of pelvic floor muscle training on the recovery of urinary continence after radical prostatectomy is still controversial. We tested the effectiveness of biofeedback-pelvic floor muscle training in improving urinary incontinence in the 12 months following radical prostatectomy.

Materials and methods: A total of 73 patients who underwent radical prostatectomy were randomized to a treatment group (36) receiving biofeedback-pelvic floor muscle training once a week for 3 months as well as home exercises or a control group (37). Patients were evaluated 1, 3, 6 and 12 months postoperatively. Continence was defined as the use of 1 pad or less daily and incontinence severity was measured by the 24-hour pad test. Incontinence symptoms and quality of life were assessed with the International Continence Society male Short Form questionnaire and the Incontinence Impact Questionnaire. Pelvic floor muscle strength was evaluated with the Oxford score.

Results: A total of 54 patients (26 pelvic floor muscle training and 28 controls) completed the trial. Duration of incontinence was shorter in the treatment group. At postoperative month 12, 25 (96.15%) patients in the treatment group and 21 (75.0%) in the control group were continent (p = 0.028). The absolute risk reduction was 21.2% (95% CI 3.45-38.81) and the relative risk of recovering continence was 1.28 (95% CI 1.02-1.69). The number needed to treat was 5 (95% CI 2.6-28.6). Overall there were significant changes in both groups in terms of incontinence symptoms, lower urinary tract symptoms, quality of life and pelvic floor muscle strength (p <0.0001).

Conclusions: Early biofeedback-pelvic floor muscle training not only hastens the recovery of urinary continence after radical prostatectomy but allows for significant improvements in the severity of incontinence, voiding symptoms and pelvic floor muscle strength 12 months postoperatively.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biofeedback, Psychology*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Floor*
  • Postoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / prevention & control*