Sexual and reproductive function in spinal cord injury and spinal surgery patients

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Theodore H. Albright
Zachary Grabel
J. Mason DePasse
Mark A. Palumbo
Alan H. Daniels *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Alan H. Daniels | alandanielsmd@gmail.com

Abstract

Sexual and reproductive health is important quality of life outcomes, which can have a major impact on patient satisfaction. Spinal pathology arising from trauma, deformity, and degenerative disease processes may be detrimental to sexual and reproductive function. Furthermore, spine surgery may impact sexual and reproductive function due to post-surgical mechanical, neurologic, and psychological factors. The aim of this paper is to provide a concise evidence-based review on the impact that spine surgery and pathology can have on sexual and reproductive function. A review of published literature regarding sexual and reproductive function in spinal injury and spinal surgery patients was performed. We have found that sexual and reproductive dysfunction can occur due to numerous etiological factors associated with spinal pathology. Numerous treatment options are available for those patients, depending on the degree of dysfunction. Spine surgeons and non-operative healthcare providers should be aware of the issues surrounding sexual and reproductive function as related to spine pathology and spine surgery. It is important for spine surgeons to educate their patients on the operative risks that spine surgery encompasses with regard to sexual dysfunction, although current data examining these topics largely consists of level IV data.

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