Prostatic plexus

The prostatic plexus is a relatively large bundle of nerves that arises from the inferior (lower) portion of the pelvic plexus, a bundle of nerves, located on either side of the rectum. It is located in the prostate's fascial shell, a layer of connective tissue.

The venous prostatic plexus contains prostatic veins that are located partly in the prostate's fascial shell, as well as partly between the prostatic capsule (another area of connective tissue) and the shell. It connects with the vesical and pudendal plexuses.

The nerves of the prostatic plexus are distributed to the corpora cavernosa of the urethra and penis, which are areas of expandable tissue that fill with blood during sexual arousal, creating a penile erection. Nerves from this plexus also travel to the vesiculae seminales of the prostate, which are the glands that secrete seminal fluid.

Two sets of nerves supply the corpora cavernosa, which are known as the greater and lesser cavernous nerves. They originate from the anterior (back) part of the plexus. The nerves travel forward, below the pubic arch, once they attach with the pudendal nerve branches.

The nervous plexus supports the function of penile erection. Therefore, any injury or damage caused to it may result in erectile dysfunction of the penis. During surgery of the prostate, the surgeon must be cautious to maintain the integrity of the fascial shell to avoid any risk to the plexus.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Prostatic plexus

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