Early postoperative pelvic-floor biofeedback improves erectile function in men undergoing radical prostatectomy: a prospective, randomized, controlled trial

Int J Impot Res. 2012 Sep;24(5):174-8. doi: 10.1038/ijir.2012.11. Epub 2012 May 10.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) and urinary incontinence are common complications following radical prostatectomy (RP). Although pelvic-floor biofeedback training (PFBT) may improve urinary continence following RP, its effects on the recovery of potency are unknown. Fifty-two patients selected for RP were prospectively randomized for a treatment group (n=26) receiving PFBT once a week for 3 months and home exercises or a control group (n=26), in which patients received verbal instructions to contract the pelvic floor. Erectile function (EF) was evaluated with the International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5) before surgery and 1, 3, 6 and 12 months postoperatively. Patients were considered potent when they had a total IIEF-5 score>20. Continence status was assessed and defined as the use of no pads. Groups were comparable in terms of age, body mass index, diabetes, pathological tumor stage and neurovascular bundle preservation. A significant reduction in IIEF-5 scores was observed after surgery in both groups. In the treatment group, 8 (47.1%) patients recovered potency 12 months postoperatively, as opposed to 2 (12.5%) in the control group (P=0.032). The absolute risk reduction was 34.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.8-64%) and the number needed to treat was 3 (95% CI: 1.5-17.2). A strong association between recovery of potency and urinary continence was observed, with continent patients having a 5.4 higher chance of being potent (P=0.04). Early PFBT appears to have a significant impact on the recovery of EF after RP. Urinary continence status was a good indicator of EF recovery, with continent patients having a higher chance of being potent.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biofeedback, Psychology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Pelvic Floor / physiology*
  • Penile Erection / physiology*
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects
  • Prostatectomy / rehabilitation*
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy