March 16, 2009 -- Question: What are the sexual side effects of seed implant therapy?
Answer: The sexual side effects of prostate seed implant therapy could be summarized into a impotence rate of approximately one out of three patients. This can appear later, after the prostate seed implant or after even the external beam radiation. It is not an immediate effect and can be precipitated, also, by the aging of the patient, as many patients who have these therapies are in the late 60s or 70s.
The effect on sexual function is only related to the effect of treatment on the nerves that go to the penis. There are no hormonal consequences of the treatment with radiation alone. The prostate does not produce male hormone. It just produces the liquid that feeds the sperm on its way to fertilize the egg. So the patients are, in the vast majority, not fertile, because the liquid that the prostate produces actually disappears, and the sperm will not survive on its way to fertilize the egg. However, libido, erection and sexual function in itself can be normal after prostate seed implantation and after prostate external beam therapy, with the exception of about one third of patients with late impotence.