A nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy is ultimately designed to preserve a man's sexual function. The success rate in preserving sexual potency is dependent on a few factors - a man's age, the quality of his erection prior to the surgery, and the surgeon's skill and experience in protecting and preserving the nerves during the Prostate nerve-sparing operation.
Nerve Sparing Prostatectomy >
In fact, it has been show that prostate nerve-sparing surgery is performed with tremendous variation. A recent study from Memorial Sloan Kettering showed that among 11 surgeons performing radical prostatectomy, 12-month sexual potency ranged from 8% to 50%, indicating that there is significant variation in technique and outcomes. Extending these findings beyond high volume academic centers suggests that men may receive suboptimal care.
The figures below are taken from three step-by-step guides that UCLA Urology faculty published to help other surgeons improve technique and outcomes. The figures demonstrates the landmarks for attaining the correct nerve sparing surgical plane and the equally important technique for minimizing trauma to the neurovascular bundle by avoiding stretch injury.
Nerve-sparing Technique Gallery (step-by-step guide)