Patients who undergo radical prostatectomy (RP) for localized prostate cancer can expect to have penises nearly 1 cm shorter than before surgery, but the original length is completely restored after 48 months, according to researchers.

Eloisio Alexsandro da Silva, MD, and colleagues at Pedro Emesto Memorial Hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, prospectively evaluated penile length of 105 men after open RP. Stretched-penis measurements were obtained preoperatively and at 3, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months after RP. The researchers used the International Index of Erectile Function-Erectile Function questionnaire to evaluate erectile function. To measure penile length, the investigators used the stretched length of the flaccid penis, from the pubopenile skin angle to the end of the glans after the prepubic fat was depressed under maximum manual traction.

The mean stretched penile length three months post-operatively decreased significantly by an average of 1 cm from baseline, the researchers reported in Urology (2012;80:1293-1297). This difference persisted until 24 months. At 36 months, the length differed  by 0.6 cm. At 48 and 60 months, the mean differences in penile length before and after surgery were not significant.

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In addition, the study showed that the preserved erectile function after RP predicted penile length recovery.