Membranous urethral length may affect incontinence
Many factors such as age, body mass index and prostate volume are thought to affect continence outcomes and now a new study has sought to discover whether membranous urethral length (MUL) also has an impact.
Led by Dr Diwei Lin, the study showed that MUL had a positive association with continence over 12 months post-surgery and could help inform patients who are undergoing surgery.
“We specifically looked at patients who had robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP), a common surgical technique often used in intermediate and high-risk grade prostate cancer,” Dr Lin said.
“We looked at the data of 602 patients from the SA-PCCOC database (South Australian Prostate Cancer Clinical Outcomes Collaborative) and found while MUL had no effect on baseline continence, there were positive continence outcomes over 12 months post-surgery.”
A man’s MUL measurement is gained pre-surgery during an MRI scan, which many men will have as part of their care.
Dr Lin said the findings would provide helpful pre-surgery information for patients about the chances of urinary incontinence after surgery.
“The findings of this study will help in the assessment of patients pre-surgery, particularly so that clinicians can use an evidence-based approach to counselling patients regarding incontinence and recovery times based on MUL measurements,” he said.
“By educating patients who might take longer to regain continence based on their MUL measurements, this could improve their psychological wellbeing and subsequently their overall quality of life.”
Dr Lin’s team is currently extending this work with an international collaboration of researchers who have looked at the same measurements in different countries.