After radical prostatectomy surgery, most patients experience some degree of erectile dysfunction. Even if the surgery is robotic or “nerve sparing,” there is some damage to the cavernous nerves responsible for erection since they must be carefully “peeled” off the prostate capsule during surgery. Most doctors tell patients that it may take 6 to 18 months to get their erections back. Many therapies exist to accelerate this including penile “rehabilitation” (cycling with a vacuum pump) or daily Cialis. Other than that, most patients just have to wait until the nerves “recover” on their own. The same goes for healing the bladder neck with scarring which yields adequate post surgery urinary control. Healing of the bladder neck and the nerves responsible for erection my theoretically be accelerated by adding large quantities of stem cells immediately after surgery and early anecdotal evidence from a small series of patients treated by Dr. Lander seems to support this. There appears to be good reason to use stem cell therapy in the post operative healing period in an attempt to achieve faster healing and more rapid return to erection sand continence.
Progenitor stem cells have been used for a variety of medical treatments to repair and regenerate acutely damaged tissues including those damaged during surgery. A recent technological breakthrough enables us to now use Adipose (fat) derived stem cells (ASC’s). Stem cells from a person’s own fat are easily available in quantities up to ten times those seen in bone marrow stem cells even after days of culturing and processing. Liposuction fat has an attractive and abundant stem cell source. These cells have the potential to repair and regenerate human tissue such as cartilage, bone, fat, muscle, nerves and blood vessels. They also work on the immune system and have anti-inflammatory effects.
At the California Stem Cell Treatment Center (www.stemcellrevolution.com) cell therapy can be used after radical prostatectomy to hopefully improve surgical outcomes and limit side effects of the operation. Dr. Lander can perform a mini liposuction to obtain stromal vascular fraction (SVF) which is rich in adult stem cells and growth factors. SVF has immuno-modulatory and anti-inflammatory effects and therefore may be effective in healing the erection nerves and sphincter muscle after surgery.