Need the hard facts about impotency post surgery

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 54
   Posted 6/21/2006 11:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi to everyone on this forum.  You all have been so helpful, supportive and giving great advice and information.  Let's talk turkey as they say.  To all the men out there on this forum who have had surgery to remove the prostate, did you or did you not regain your ability to have an erection?  If so, how long (I mean how long did it take to regain :-) ) and what  additional help (if any) are you using.  I know this is a personal question but I sure would like to know the reality I will face after the surgery.  It is best to get the facts from you all who have gone through this instead of just relying on stats.  I realize many things play a role (age, abilities prior to surgery, etc.) but I just was hoping to get your own experiences.  Thanks!

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 6/22/2006 7:30 AM (GMT -6)   
I am 54. I had robotic surgery in late September 2004. Both nerves were spared. I started taking 50 mg. Viagra three times a week one month after surgery. I also began using a Osbon ErecAid pump one month after surgery to induce an erection every day as therapy. This has also helped me regain size, since there is some shrinkage of the penis post-surgery. My doctor also wanted me to start using TriMix shots four months after surgery, but so far I have declined, hoping that things will get better on their own. There has been improvement. I feel a lot of stirring and can maintain a little bit of firmness after using the pump. If I use the rings with the pump, I can retain an erection, although it is not really sufficient for sustained intercourse. I am being patient, but may try the shots if things aren't better after one year. I can have a manually induced orgasm without an erection. It's different without ejaculation, similar to a child's orgasm before gaining the ability to ejaculate. But there is intensity and release. I think it will seem more natural once I am able to have sustained erections. I had hoped to make better progress, but who hasn't always hoped for a better sex life. I am still able to satisfy my wife and we have discovered more intimacy because I am not being driven by all of the normal urges to get the job done. I still enjoy sex. And I especially enjoy being cancer free. That is a tremendous gift. I should mention that I have high blood pressure, borderline diabetes and take several medications. Those are also contributing factors to my ability to recover potency. I am working hard to address all of those to remove as many barriers as possible. I believe that I will regain the ability to have erections and I am glad that I didn't let this concern change my decision to have the surgery that I had.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 6/22/2006 7:34 AM (GMT -6)   
I made a mistake. My surgery was in September 2005, not 2004, nine months ago.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1732
   Posted 6/22/2006 10:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Why have you decided to avoid injections? My hubby had his most rapid improvements when we added into the rehab mix. Actually, he made very little improvement until then. It's definately worth it.

My hubby, Paul, had his surgery in 4-05. He began a nightly dose of one of the PDE5's the day the Foley was removed. He finally settled on Levitra 10mg and took the nightly dose for a total of 1 year. The pump was used for excersise beginning on day 12 post op and continued 4-5 days a weeks for about 11 months post op. The pump was never something we chose for anything other than preventing atrophy so I can't say much about it's use for sustaining erections. When he began getting better erections with oral meds, he stopped using the pump.

Paul had added injections in at somewhere arond 7-8 months post op because they're known to improve over all results....which they did. Injections were very successful. I have to agree that earlier may have improved rehabilitation a little sooner but ...not a big deal!
His Doc wanted him to begin sooner but Paul chose to wait to see what he could do with just the oral meds.

We're now at 14 months post op and don't use the shots any longer. Paul has satisfactory function without meds now on a lot of occasions but near normal when he takes Levitra or Cialis. His function continues to improve little by little. We saw the biggest jump in improvement in the 11th and 12 months probably.

PS: Paul was expected to have a slower or imcomplete recovery so he is case exceptional success. Other men of similar age usually do better so it is said. Good Luck, swim

flippin out
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 6/23/2006 5:15 PM (GMT -6)   
54 until September- Post op from April 25th 5pm
• Really got lucky as intimacy began very quickly two weeks post op the desire will be instrumental in recovery
• Tried to use Viagra as a therapy but became very dizzy and was told to discontinue
• No other instruments were involved
Only post op problems I’m dealing with is the leakage not bad and because of the nice people on this forum I know things will be getting better. Down to two pads a day and using nothing through the night (it’s great not to use um)
• Still pangs in my abdomen from time to time and I have a couple robot holes still healing
All and all a good decision {get it out as quick and much as possible} just informed PSA undetectable WOOOOOOOOOSCH
Oh and Thanks GOD for my Wife!!!

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 6/25/2006 9:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Hamala: great pun in the title of this thread!

I've been meaning to post about the success my husband (48) and I are having with the shots. In his case we had impotence problems for years before the surgery so had been through all three of the drugs with varying amounts of success pre-surgery. At the very least, he had a 'hangover' (he doesn't drink) after using the drugs and they weren't consistently successful.

Had I known about atrophy in the years prior to surgery, I might have encouraged shots or at least been more supportive with the drugs. Looking at it as therapy or preventative maintenance would have changed my attitude but I didn't know then and our urologist didn't think the impotency was a big problem.

Since surgery Jan 2006 we tried Cialis and Levitra. Had some success with Cialis (managed penetration almost the equivalent of pre-surgery with no drugs). Nothing with the Levitra. (Except the hangover!) He was extremely anxious to get 'back in the saddle' again so my needle phobic husband decided to do the shots. I would never had agreed except for the issue of atrophy.

The first time he was injected at the clinic the doctor said it was 70% erect and with stimulation it would improve to 100%. The second test at the clinic was also a success although both erections completely disappeared by the time we were to the parking lot.

Our first attempt at home was a disaster. He missed and the erection was fleeting, followed by pain and worry. And hysteria on my part. I didn't realize he missed and I figured since the drugs didn't work and the injection worked at the clinic but not at home, it was me...

The next attempt was a success but the erection was lasting over 3 hours so he's played around with reducing the dose and been injecting every two days since when he can.

The Triple-P (as it is called in Canada) costs less than 4 pills for about 100 injections. Because it is cheap, using it for therapy doesn't bother me. If we don't use it, it is going to go bad anyway so we may as well use it.

My husband's nerves were spared during surgery and the injections seem to bring them to the surface so the sensation is much different from an orgasm without erection. I'm very pleased with the results although it is taking adjustment on my part since we have to relearn lovemaking with a fully erect penis after years of coping with less than that.

The biggest downside is the meds don't travel well. My husband travels internationally for his work and because it needs refrigeration and needles he hasn't been taking it with him on his trips. Explaining it all to our almost-18 year old teenage boys (in case they came across the needle disposal case by accident) was a bit awkward but we've been honest and open about the rest of the surgery and this is part of it. Grandpa died of prostate cancer only 8 months prior to our diagnosis (it was my FIL's death that triggered the biopsy for my husband, psa was only a little high and the impotence was 'nothing to worry about.') so we are keeping the boys informed.

I would highly recommend trying the injections. At least go through the experience at the clinic and then decide if it is something you can manage at home.

For us, it is as if the last reminder of the cancer has been brushed away. He had the old fashion open surgery, recovered very quickly, continence came back quickly (within weeks after the catheter was out), he was traveling at the 6 week mark (corporate training on his feet for 8 hours a day). March he was away for two weeks (two different trips), April for a week, then a 28 day around-the-world trip in May and a week away in June. Being home enough to use the injections is the biggest problem we have right now!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 6/29/2006 11:22 PM (GMT -6)   
I had surgery (da Vinci) in November 2005. I have been taking various "substances" since January. While I do have an increase in size and firmness, I have yet to have an erection. This does not mean that I can not have one hell of an orgasm ... and I do with frequency. My urologist is waiting until my next visit (August) ... and if I am still unable to have an erection she is going to try injections into my penis (shaft). When I suggested that I wasn't all that intereste in even trying THAT (sticking a needle in THERE?), she suggested that at 57 I was a little young to decide that my sex life was over. We'll see. Keep me posted!
Had robotic surgery for prostate cancer in November. Would like to chat with others who have had either robotic or open surgery.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 6/29/2006 11:36 PM (GMT -6)   

My orgasms are also manually induced ... oral does not work at all (except for the sensation - but I can't reach orgasm that way any more). Having a "dry" orgasm (after 45+ years) is a bit odd ... but, hey, at least I can have one!

Nerves on my right side were not spared. A friend sugested that I would henceforth look as if I were "signalling for a lefft turn". I ain't signalling for nothing ... yet!

BTW: Greatest inacreses in size and firmness have been when I have been straining to have a BM.
Had robotic surgery for prostate cancer in November. Would like to chat with others who have had either robotic or open surgery.

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/6/2006 6:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I had the Da Vinci procedure 16 days ago. When is it safe to try having intercourse? Do I need to wait for something to heal?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 36
   Posted 7/6/2006 7:24 PM (GMT -6)   
Ask your urologist. 16 days after surgery, the last thing on my mind was sex. The catheter had been taken out 2 days before ... I was VERY incontinent ... not on the radar. If you feel/are "up" to it (sorry, bad joke) ... be well, be happy.

david d
New Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 7/14/2006 10:51 PM (GMT -6)   
John62 said...
I had the Da Vinci procedure 16 days ago. When is it safe to try having intercourse? Do I need to wait for something to heal?

I have the same question, 16 days for me also, let me know what you find out

thanks david d

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1732
   Posted 7/15/2006 10:53 AM (GMT -6)   
You can have sex when ever your little um, heart desires! Two weeks is all that most Docs suggest. After that it is what ever and at what ever level the patient is comfortable with. Have a nice day boys!

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 7/20/2006 11:23 AM (GMT -6)   
I had an RP near 15 yrs ago. No sustained incontinence. Not the amount of sustaine erection as before.

In fact the erections almost started out being 3/4 normal but never improved of this.
Within a year or two there were only rare occassions of sufficcient firmness for penetration.

Uro gave a Yohimbe prescription, but that clashed with blood pressure or something and created nervous reaction of a non good kind.

Since the wifes most consistent and good orgasms were generally from manual activity and she has an aversion to the idea of Viagra or other helps- our lovemaking has largely been manual.

For some reason the actual orgasm since RP has been slightly harder to attain- not just the triggering slightly different but in my case the number of pulses would be few unless extra stimulus of a specific nature ws specifically added.

I must add that sex has been good, regular and with some great orgasms.

Since there is the absence of the prostate muscle as well as no ejaculate the orgasm is not as grandiose- but compared to the lack of desire that some of the other PCa tretments such as chemical or surgical castration- hey you do look forward to the orgasm!

There is one benefit to having ses after RP- No Mess!

As far as feeling "cured" of cancer- that is a misnomer.

I have had no further treatment for PCa. Many,Many others have had ADT for a great deal of their post op lives which in many cases kills the libido, eventually kills any erectile ability, promotes osteoporosis, increases heart attack risk.

I believe much of the use of post op Lupron, etc. is overkill in a possibly unnecessary attempt to attain zero PSA levels.

Of course that statement would be considered wrong by 99.99% of urologists.

Maybe that is so. I have had zero maintenance in re PCa. However I do have another bone scan scheduled next week to check on whether there are metrs to the bone.

MD and Uro both say my chest pains are from bone mets. Med Onc says probably not.
My Physical therapist can wipe out the pains with myofascial massage.

Who was the guy that says he's "cured" ?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1732
   Posted 7/22/2006 12:26 PM (GMT -6)   

First, can we pleeeease have a name other than calling you oldguy. I feel so disrespectful using the title......unless your mother really named you that...LOL!

Secondly, you tell a great success story! Your wonderful disposition has undoubtedly been a treasure through all the years. Thank you for sharing.

Depending on age, related health problems..including any eye problems, PDE5 drugs are very safe. Levitra user studies are showing a reduction in the amount of damage sustained during an MI for example (heart attack). That may be a hopeful sign for future uses of the drugs. Viagra was orriginally created for pediatric congestive heart failure patients and is used daily all over the world for that purpose. It actually saved lives long before it saved love lives! Both of you go to the Doc together and have a chat about how safe it is for you....or live life to the fullest just the way it is. You do sound pretty satisfied the way things are:>)

Please let us know what the scan results are. My money is on the Med Onc. Chest discomfort that goes away with manual stimulation of the surrounding muscles does not sound like bone mets to me. Does not sound cardiac either. Sounds like a good reason to get a massage! Drink a nice glass of after every time you have a chest massage to flush out all that nasty lactic acid.
God Bless, Vickie

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 6/8/2007 1:36 PM (GMT -6)   
I had my DaVinci surgery on May 12, 2006 at the age of 66. Eight of the 10 biopsies showed cancer. The Doctor said the nerves were spared but the cancer was at the edge of not being contained.
I regained bladder control within the normal time but have not been able to have an erection since the surgery. In addition to that, I lost all desire for sex and I – mean - all. This is from someone who has always been very, very interested. (never too tired, drunk, sick, etc.)
I have used the pump to keep the tissue alive and just this past week had my first dream or beginning of “something”. I tried the pills and have had no results. I plan to wait for the shots until I at least have a little more desire. (The Dr. says it will happen).
I am just happy to be alive and in good health (other than blood pressure and thyroid medication). I realize that age may be a factor in my attitude but I don’t think so. I plan to continue the pump and assume that things will work out.
My wife is supportive and by the way, she had breast cancer when she was 34 (the old fashioned radical kind with chest muscle removal, cobalt radiation, etc.). Trust me, it could always be worse. I wish everyone well and a successful return to full functionality in every area.
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