Erectile dysfunction (ED) after radical prostatectomy (RP) still represents a major issue. Considering the benefits recently described regarding the application of low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy (LiESWT) in vasculogenic ED, questions arise about its role in the scenario of penile rehabilitation.
To compare the early introduction of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitor (PDE5i) with a combination therapy enrolling both early PDE5i use and LiESWT in patients submitted to RP.
This study is a randomized clinical trial, open-label, with 2 parallel arms and an allocation ratio of 1:1. The study was registered in ReBEC (ensaiosclinicos.gov.br) Trial: RBR-85HGCG. Both arms started tadalafil at a dose of 5 mg/day right after the removal of the transurethral catheter, and the experimental group received 2,400 shocks/session-week distributed on 4 different penile regions. The full treatment consisted of 19,200 impulses across 8 weeks.
The primary clincal end point was ≥4-point difference favoring the experimental group considering the mean International Index of Erectile Function short form (IIEF-5) at last follow-up. Any statistical difference in the IIEF-5 score between the arms was stated as the primary statistical end point.
Between September 25, 2017, and December 3, 2018, 92 men were enrolled in the study. At last follow-up, we assessed 77 patients, 41 in the control group and 36 in the intervention group. A difference between groups was detected when accessing the final median IIEF-5 score (12.0 vs 10.0; P = .006). However, the primary clinical endpoint considering a difference ≥4-point between the arms has not been reached. When performing an exploratory analysis comparing the proportion of those individuals with an IIEF-5 score ≥17, no difference between groups was noted (17.1% vs 22.2%; P = .57).
So far, the benefits arising from LiESWT for penile rehabilitation after RP have been uncertain.
This is the first trial assessing the role of LiESWT on erectile function after RP. Our study protocol included only one session per week for the experimental group, raising a query if a more intensive application could achieve better results once a statistically significant difference was found between groups. We discontinue the PDE5i use at the last session, which may have interfered in the penile vascular rehabilitation, maybe compromising the results too.
After therapy with 19,200 impulses therapy across 8 weeks, we found an improvement of the IIEF-5 score, but it was not enough to be considered clinically significant. More studies are warranted before any recommendation on this topic. Baccaglini W, Pazeto CL, Corrêa Barros EA, et al. The Role of the Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy on Penile Rehabilitation After Radical Prostatectomy: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J Sex Med 2020;XX:XXX-XXX.

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