Current Sexual Health Reports

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 287–292 | Cite as

Penile Rehabilitation: the “Up”-date

  • J. Scott GabrielsenEmail author
Male Sexual Dysfunction and Disorders (A Pastuszak and N Gupta, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Male Sexual Dysfunction and Disorders


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this review is to review the penile rehabilitation literature published since the beginning of 2017. Specific emphasis was placed on determining how the new findings increase our understanding of the mechanisms leading to recovery of erectile function after pelvic surgery and to identify potential focus areas for future studies.

Recent Findings

A meta-analysis of penile rehabilitation after prostatectomy was published in early 2017 reporting that PDE-5 inhibitors, intracavernosal injection (ICI) therapy, and vacuum erection devices (VED) improved erectile function; however, the benefit was not observed after a washout period. Preclinical studies have identified potential regenerative therapies after cavernous nerve injury.


While significant methodological challenges remain, recent literature suggests benefits to starting penile rehabilitation immediately after surgery, but not extending past 1 year postoperatively. The cost-benefit ratio of penile rehabilitation remains unclear; however, decreasing costs of PDE-5 inhibitors as well as improvements in characterizing post-surgical erectile dysfunction may help to personalize penile rehabilitation, improve outcomes, and improve the cost-benefit ratio. Better and more consistent trial design is needed to develop the optimal regimen(s) for restoring sexual function in men. Finally, future studies to translate promising preclinical regeneration therapies to humans are also needed.


Erectile dysfunction Penile rehabilitation Radical prostatectomy PDE-5 inhibitors Vacuum erection device Intracavernosal injection 



JSG is supported in part by NIH K12 DK083014 Multidisciplinary K12 Urologic Research (KURe) Career Development Program (awarded to Dolores J. Lamb).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scott Department of Urology and Center for Reproductive MedicineBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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