AN Australian-first nerve grafting procedure is giving hope to the 7000 Australian men suffering the most common side effect of prostate cancer surgery each year.
The surgical removal of the prostate glands, a radical prostatectomy, is a curative procedure for most of the 10,000 Australian men who undergo this each year.
While life saving, the surgery can damage nerves and reduce sexual function in 70 per cent of men regardless of whether it’s performed as keyhole surgery, as an open procedure or by robots.
Melbourne plastic surgeon Professor Chris Coombs has started offering a new surgical option, pioneered in Brazil, in which he takes a nerve from the groin that will regrow in the penis over 6-12 months.
From the 12 patients he has treated with urologist Dr David Dangerfield at Cabrini Brighton, 60 per cent had restored sexual function.
“This is a huge group of men who have been changed,” Prof Coombs said.
“This gives them a natural option to restore normal function.”
Story by Brigid O’Connell on Herald Sun