Conservative management for postprostatectomy urinary incontinence

Susan E. Campbell, Cathryn M. A. Glazener, Kathleen F. Hunter, June D. Cody, Katherine N. Moore

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    Background: Urinary incontinence is common after both radical prostatectomy and transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). Conservative management includes pelvic floor muscle training with or without biofeedback, electrical stimulation, extra-corporeal magnetic innervation (ExMI), compression devices (penile clamps), lifestyle changes, or a combination of methods.
    Objectives: To assess the effects of conservative management for urinary incontinence after prostatectomy.
    Search methods: We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group Specialised Register (searched 24 August 2011), EMBASE (January 1980 to Week 48 2009), CINAHL (January 1982 to 20 November 2009), the reference lists of relevant articles, handsearched conference proceedings and contacted investigators to locate studies.
    Selection criteria: Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials evaluating conservative interventions for urinary continence in men after prostatectomy.
    Data collection and analysis: Two or more review authors assessed the methodological quality of trials and abstracted data. We tried to contact several authors of included studies to obtain extra information.
    Main results: Thirty-seven trials met the inclusion criteria, 33 amongst men after radical prostatectomy, three trials after transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) and one trial after either operation. The trials included 3399 men, of whom 1937 had an active conservative intervention. There was considerable variation in the interventions, populations and outcome measures. Data were not available for many of the pre-stated outcomes. Men's symptoms improved over time irrespective of management. Adverse effects did not occur or were not reported. There was no evidence from eight trials that pelvic floor muscle training with or without biofeedback was better than control for men who had urinary incontinence after radical prostatectomy (e.g. 57% with urinary incontinence versus 62% in the control group, risk ratio (RR) for incontinence after 12 months 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.60 to 1.22) as the confidence intervals were wide, reflecting uncertainty. However, one large multicentre trial of one-to-one therapy showed no difference in any urinary or quality of life outcome measures and had narrower confidence intervals. There was also no evidence of benefit for erectile dysfunction (56% with no erection in the pelvic floor muscle training group versus 55% in the control group after one year, RR 1.01, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.20). Individual small trials provided data to suggest that electrical stimulation, external magnetic innervation or combinations of treatments might be beneficial but the evidence was limited. One large trial demonstrated that there was no benefit for incontinence or erectile dysfunction from a one-to-one pelvic floor muscle training based intervention to men who were incontinent after transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) (e.g. 65% with urinary incontinence versus 62% in the control group, RR after 12 months 1.05, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.23).In eight trials of conservative treatment of all men after radical prostatectomy aimed at both treatment and prevention, there was an overall benefit from pelvic floor muscle training versus control management in terms of reduction of UI (e.g. 10% with urinary incontinence after one year versus 32% in the control groups, RR for urinary incontinence 0.32, 95% CI 0.20 to 0.51). However, this finding was not supported by other data from pad tests. The findings should be treated with caution, as most trials were of poor to moderate quality and confidence intervals were wide. Men in one trial were more satisfied with one type of external compression device, which had the lowest urine loss, 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.
    Authors' conclusions: The value of the various approaches to conservative management of postprostatectomy incontinence after radical prostatectomy remains uncertain. It seems unlikely that men benefit from one-to-one pelvic floor muscle training therapy after transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). Long-term incontinence may be managed by external penile clamp, but there are safety problems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberCD001843
    JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012

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