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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new prostate cancer surgical procedure developed at the University of Tennessee-Memphis may help eliminate loss of urinary control, or incontinence, sometimes caused by prostate surgery.

 Dr. Mitchell Steiner, a urologic cancer specialist, said a team of UT-Memphis researchers identified and mapped the anatomy of nerves that control continence by tracing the nerves from the spinal column to the urinary sphincter muscles.

 They then developed a new surgical procedure for prostate cancer to avoid damaging nerves that affect patients’ urinary control, he said. Their work is reported in the March issue of the research journal Urology.

 “Urinary incontinence has always been a major complication of radical prostatectomy, which is the most popular prostate cancer surgical procedure,” Steiner said.

“Now that we know the anatomy, we have modified our surgical procedures to avoid injury to these nerves and optimize chances for urinary control following surgery.”

 Steiner said the new surgical technique has been effective in all 60 of the prostate surgery operations in which it has been used.

 “With time, this technique should become the standard for prostate cancer surgery,” he said.

Dr. Richard Peppler, an anatomist and dean of the UT-Memphis College of Graduate Health Science, said the research could affect other surgical procedures, such as cystectomy, colorectal surgery and female pelvic surgery.

 “This finding is extremely exciting,” Peppler said.

 “The elucidation of the complicated (nerve systems) of pelvic structures by these investigators is a real breakthrough which will benefit patients considerably.”

 The research was conducted through the Medical Education Research Institute and sponsored by the Methodist Foundation.


 Contact: Dr. Mitchell Steiner (901-448-1492)