Treating Erectile Dysfunction with Back Surgery
Spinal Stenosis and Erectile Dysfunction
Another case of erectile dysfunction connected to spinal stenosis and spinal cord/nerve compression was written up by Norwegian clinicians and describes a thirty-five year old man who began experiencing erectile dysfunction at just eighteen years of age, following a fall from a horse (Orlin and Klevmark, 2008). Bowel and bladder problems were also experienced by this man and subsequent diagnostic scans showed a large disc protrusion at L5-S1 which was causing spinal cord compression. Surgery to remove the disc protrusion fully resolved the patient’s symptoms and he could achieve a normal erection just two weeks after his surgery with bowel and bladder habits becoming normal after three months as the nerves healed further. Orlin and Klevmark note that longlasting parasympathetic nerve trauma need not lead to permanent dysfunction, as illustrated in this patient’s case and also observed that uroflowmetry is a useful assessment tool for neurogenic causes of erectile dysfunction as both bladder contractility and erection are dependent upon spinal nerves S2-S4.
Laser Spine Surgery for Impotence
Erectile dysfunction that is caused by abnormal nerve innervation due to spinal stenosis or other spinal condition may be able to be resolved through minimally-invasive laser spine surgery. Choy (1999) investigated this technique for patients with disc herniation in the lumbar spine and found that early relief of erectile dysfunction could be achieved using laser spine surgery. Percutaneous laser disc decompression (PLDD) was the chosen intervention and this study saw two men undergo treatment with immediate pain relief occurring in one patient and both men experiencing a return of erectile function soon after back surgery. More than two dozen other cases of erectile dysfunction caused by disc herniation and myelopathy are present in the literature and many such cases may be responsive to laser spine surgery. Although it may not be an immediate connection to make, disc herniation and sexual difficulties may be interlinked in some men with hope provided by back surgery for erectile dysfunction.
He S, Hussain N, Zhao J, Fu Q, Hou T., Improvement of sexual function in male patients treated surgically for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Jan 1;31(1):33-6.
Orlin JR, Klevmark B., Successful disc surgery after 17 years of erectile dysfunction caused by a “silent” disc protrusion. Scand J Urol Nephrol. 2008;42(1):91-3. Epub 2007 Jun 21.
Choy DS., Early relief of erectile dysfunction after laser decompression of herniated lumbar disc. J Clin Laser Med Surg. 1999 Feb;17(1):25-7.