What are the possible nerve complications of conventional external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) for prostate cancer?

Updated: Nov 29, 2018
  • Author: Isamettin Andrew Aral, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Pelvic irradiation exposes both sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves to radiation. Posttherapy defects with erectile and ejaculatory function are reported in 30-40% of patients undergoing a full course of EBRT (total doses ≥ 66.6 Gy). The etiology of this injury is not fully understood; however, current thinking suggests that the mechanism may be microvascular changes affecting the blood supply to the nerves.


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