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Urinary Complications After Prostate Cancer Treatment

Prostate cancer treatment may include radiation, high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), or radical prostatectomy. These therapies can cause urinary complications such as urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction and rectourethral fistulas.

Urinary Incontinence After Prostatectomy

Nearly 75 percent of men experience incontinence immediately following radical prostatectomy. It typically occurs with minimal leakage and only during heavy activity. In most cases, it is temporary and will resolve on its own within a year.

​Since incontinence often improves on its own, treatment is not usually considered until at least one year after surgery. However, if you are experiencing severe incontinence (soaking through multiple pads a day) six months following surgery, you may be considered for surgery sooner as the chances of regaining control over time is less likely. An artificial sphincter can be effective in treating moderate to severe male stress incontinence.

Dedicated to helping you achieve physical and emotional relief, our team offers leading-edge diagnostic techniques as well as minimally invasive therapies.

Erectile Dysfunction

Our reconstructive urologists have expertise in treating urinary complications that arise after prostate cancer surgery and radiation. We are skilled in procedures that can help restore erectile function after radical prostatectomy, including:

  • Penile implants (prosthesis)
  • Vacuum constrictive devices
  • Vascular surgery

Prosthesis surgery is not usually recommended unless spontaneous recovery of erectile function seems unlikely. Mike Hsieh, MD, urologist and male fertility expert, is currently exploring outcomes of penile prosthetic surgery.

Other Complications of Prostatectomy

We treat other complications that may occur after prostatectomy, including:

Dr. Jill Buckley investigates current approaches to anastomotic stricture and rectourethral fistula following radical prostatectomy. Read the publication on Pub Med Health

  • Rectourethral fistulas: Also known as a urinary rectal fistula, a rectourethral fistula is a small hole that forms between the urethra and the rectum.
  • Urethral fistulas: An abnormal opening within the urinary tract
  • Urethral stricture: An obstructed or blocked urethra, which can make it difficult to urinate. When the connection narrows due to scarring, it is called a bladder neck contracture (can occur after radiation). Symptoms include straining to urinate, a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying, and reduced flow rate.

Appointments and Referrals


La Jolla

Meet Our Specialist

Dr. Jill Buckley of UC San Diego Health Dr. Jill Buckley, a leading expert in male reconstructive urology, has co-authored numerous research studies and several surgical textbooks on urethral reconstruction, acute urinary trauma management and genitourinary reconstruction. She is nationally recognized for her work in complex urinary reconstruction.