What is Post-Prostatectomy Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction, also known as ED, is the inability to get and maintain an erection hard enough to have intercourse. 90 percent of men experience ED after having a prostatectomy, surgery to remove part or all of the prostate gland.
Causes of Post-Prostatectomy Erectile Dysfunction
ED is a normal side effect of prostate removal. Post-prostatectomy ED doesn't seem to happen more often with one type of prostatectomy over another.
Prostatectomy tends to cause ED because the surgery weakens the pelvic floor, a part of the body that's vital to getting an erection. Located just under the bladder and behind the base of the penis, the pelvic floor contains many muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. In order to get an erection, the brain needs to send signals through these nerves, the blood vessels must allow enough blood to flow into the penis, and pelvic floor muscles have to squeeze blood into the penis. If any of these parts are damaged during surgery, you may not be able to get and keep an erection.