Prof Christopher Coombs

APCC 2017 – Prof Christopher Coombs

Prof Christopher Coombs discusses his exciting preliminary results of femoral nerve grafting to treat erectile dysfunction after radical prostatectomy.

Talking Urology podcast transcript

APCC 2017 Interviews - Christopher Coombs

A/Prof Nathan Lawrentschuk: I’m here with Professor Christopher Coombs from the University of Melbourne who’s been today presenting his very novel and interesting study regarding recovery of erectile function for men after a radical prostatectomy using nerve grafts from the femoral nerve. So Chris, would you just like to summarize for us what you presented here today?

Christopher Coombs: So what we’ve done is we’ve presented a pilot study of 10 men who have had this surgery. Of those 10 men, eight of them have had restoration of erectile function, four of them spontaneously, four of them with pharmacological supplementation.

Nathan: Are there any downsides Chris in terms of complications potentially operating on the femoral nerve?

Chris: There has been no downside from operating on the femoral nerve. They do get predictable numbness in their feet from harvesting their sural nerve grafts and we’ve had one with an infection.

Nathan: Typically how long does it take men to recover after the surgery?

Chris: Recovery, because nerve regeneration is slow, nerves grow at a millimeter a day, they usually they don’t notice too much until six month and then usually by a year they have their result, and some have been functional in nine months.

Nathan: So where do you see the future of your study from here?

Chris: Well what I think we need to do is to see, we’ve only done 10, we need to have a bigger cohort and ensure that those figures hold up. And then I think that there’s, this could be a disruptor in fact for penile rehabilitation for patients who have got established impotence post radical prostatectomy.

Nathan: And just finally, how does your procedure or your approach differ from the published data from Brazil for example?

Chris: The Brazilians use a sensory nerve graft and a motor nerve graft. We just use a motor nerve graft but we handle the coaptation differently which increases the amount of nerve regeneration into the nerve graft. So you’ll end up with more axons coming into the penis.

Nathan: Fantastic! Thanks Chris. Thanks for your time today.

Chris: Alright! Thanks Nathan.

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