Purpose: Urologists and anatomists have disagreed concerning pelvic neurovascular bundle (NVB) structure. Recently interposition nerve grafting has been performed to improve erectile function after radical prostatectomy. To refine this procedure we reviewed NVB structure from the surgical viewpoint. Materials and Methods: Seven fresh cadavers and serial horizontal sections from 20 formalin fixed cadavers were used for gross dissection and histological examination. Results: Fresh cadaver dissections demonstrated that the pelvic splanchnic nerve (PSN) joined the NVB at a point distal or inferior to the bladder-prostate (BP) junction. Histologically hypogastric nerve fibers were much more dominant than PSN fibers at the BP junction, and the NVB, covered by the lateral pelvic fascia, became evident at levels more than 20 to 30 mm below the BP junction. PSN components joined the NVB in a spray-like distribution at multiple levels more than 20 mm distal to the BP junction. At these low levels nerves tended to be located outside of the NVB at the dorsolateral margin of the prostate. The cranial end of the mimic interposition nerve graft was directed toward the hypogastric nerve rather than the PSN. Conclusions: In contrast to general clinical opinion, the NVB appears to supply few PSN components at the BP junction with caudal PSN branches reaching the dorsolateral prostate more than 20 mm below the BP junction. This anatomy has important implications for a reliable nerve graft.
ASJC Scopus subject areas