Background: Nerve-sparing (NS) radical prostatectomy (RP) results in better functional outcomes. Intraoperative neurovascular structure-adjacent frozen section examination (NeuroSAFE) significantly increases the frequency of NS surgery. The effect of NeuroSAFE on postoperative erectile function (EF) and continence is not yet clear.
Objective: To describe EF and continence outcomes for men undergoing RP with the NeuroSAFE technique.
Design, setting, and participants: Between September 2018 and February 2021, 1034 men underwent robot-assisted RP. Data for patient-reported outcomes were collected via validated questionnaires.
Intervention: NeuroSAFE technique for RP.
Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Continence was assessed using the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire-Urinary Incontinence Short Form (ICIQ-UI SF) or Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite short form (EPIC-26) and defined as use of 0-1 pads/d. EF was evaluated using EPIC-26 or the International Index of Erectile Function short form (IIEF-5), with data converted according to the Vertosick method and categorized. Descriptive statistics were used to asses and describe tumor characteristics and continence and EF outcomes.
Results and limitations: Of the 1034 men who underwent RP after introduction of the NeuroSAFE technique, 63% and 60% completed a preoperative and at least one postoperative questionnaire on continence and EF, respectively. Of the men who underwent unilateral or bilateral NS surgery, use of 0-1 pads/d was reported by 93% after 1 yr and 96% after 2 yr; the corresponding rates for men who underwent non-NS surgery were 86% and 78%. Overall, use of 0-1 pads/d was reported by 92% of the men at 1 yr and by 94% at 2 yr after RP. Men in the NS group had a good or intermediate Vertosick score after RP more often than the non-NS group. Overall, 44% of the men had a good or intermediate Vertosick score at 1 and 2 yr after RP.
Conclusions: After introduction of the NeuroSAFE technique, the continence rate was 92% at 1 yr and 94% at 2 yr after RP. The NS group had a greater percentage of men with an intermediate or good Vertosick score and a higher continence rate after RP in comparison to the non-NS group.
Patient summary: Our study shows that after introduction of the NeuroSAFE technique during removal of the prostate, the continence rate among patients was 92% at 1 year and 94% at 2 years after surgery. Some 44% of the men had a good or intermediate score for erectile function 1 and 2 years after surgery.
Keywords: Patient reported outcome; Prostate cancer; Radical prostatectomy.