JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Do early injections of bulking agents following radical prostatectomy improve early continence?

Bulking agents belong to the treatment options of stress urinary incontinence in both genders for a long time, but early injection of bulking agents following radical prostatectomy to improve early continence is a new treatment modality and the results of the first years will be presented in this study. From 1996 to 2001, 55 incontinent patients, of whom 44 suffered from post-prostatectomy incontinence (PPI), have been treated by bulking agents in our clinic and evaluated later on, using a semistandardized questionnaire. Mean age was 65.5 years and the mean follow-up was 32 months. Of 44 patients with PPI, 29 suffered from incontinence of the third, 10 from incontinence of the second and 5 from incontinence of the first degree. We examined the influence of transurethral injection of bulking agents on direct postoperative continence (short-term results) and on continence at the time of follow-up (long-term results) (mean 32 month). An improved early continence (short-term result) was achieved in 30 patients. At follow-up, 19 patients were completely dry, 18 reported an improved continence. Especially the time of treatment, referring to radical prostatectomy, had a significant influence on treatment results with better results in the subgroup of 34 patients that have been treated early (mean 23 days) compared to 10 patients that received delayed treatment (mean 26 months) following radical prostatectomy. The preoperative degree of incontinence had a significant influence on short-term results, and not on long-term results. The amount of bulking material and the number of injections had no significant influence on short-term results, but repeated injections resulted in statistically worse long-term results. In summary, early transurethral injection of bulking agents is an effective and minimal invasive therapy option to improve early continence in patients with PPI. Time to improved continence due to training of the sphincter externus muscle cannot be shortened, but the quality of life during this time can be improved. In case of a severe lesion of the sphincteric muscle, continence cannot be improved for a longer period and the results are poor. In these cases, procedures like implantation of an artificial urinary sphincter may be required.

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