Conservative management for postprostatectomy urinary incontinence

K. F. Hunter, K. N. Moore, D. J. Cody, C. M. A. Glazener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)



Urinary incontinence is common after both radical prostatectomy and transurethral resection. Conservative management includes pelvic floor muscle training, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, compression devices (penile clamps), lifestyle changes, extra-corporeal magnetic innervation or a combination of methods.

To assess the effects of conservative managements for urinary incontinence prostatectomy.
Search strategy

We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group trials register (searched 2 July 2003), MEDLINE (January 1966 to January 2004), EMBASE (January 1988 to January 2004), CINAHL (January 1982 to January 2004), PsycLIT (January 1984 to January 2004), ERIC (January 1984 to January 2004), the reference lists of relevant articles, handsearched conference proceedings and contacted investigators to locate studies.
Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials evaluating conservative interventions for urinary continence after prostatectomy.
Data collection and analysis

At least two reviewers assessed the methodological quality of trials and abstracted data.
Main results

Ten trials met the inclusion criteria, eight trials amongst men after radical prostatectomy, one trial after transurethral resection of prostate and one after either operation. There was considerable variation in the interventions, populations and outcome measures. The trials were of moderate quality and data were not available for many of the pre-stated outcomes. Confidence intervals were wide: it was not possible to reliably identify or rule out a useful effect.

There was some support from five trials for pelvic floor muscle training with biofeedback being better than no treatment or sham treatment in the short term for men after radical prostatectomy: relative risk for incontinence with pelvic floor muscle training and biofeedback versus no treatment: 0.74 (95% confidence interval 0.60 to 0.93). Analysis of other conservative interventions such as pelvic floor muscle training alone, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and rectal electrical stimulation, or combinations of these interventions were inconclusive. There were too few data to determine effects on incontinence after transurethral resection of the prostate. The findings should be treated with caution as there were few studies, all of moderate quality. Men in one trial reported a preference for one type of external compression device compared to two others or no treatment. The effect of other conservative interventions such as lifestyle changes remains undetermined as no trials involving these interventions were identified. Men's symptoms tended to improve over time, irrespective of management.
Authors' conclusions

The value of the various approaches to conservative management of postprostatectomy incontinence remains uncertain. There may be some benefit of offering pelvic floor muscle training with biofeedback early in the postoperative period immediately following removal of the catheter as it may promote an earlier return to continence. Long-term incontinence may be managed by external penile clamp, but there are safety problems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberCD001843
Number of pages14
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'Conservative management for postprostatectomy urinary incontinence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this