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Mr. 80 Percent

Episode 3: Hands of God

Until the early 1980s, every man who had his prostate surgically removed was impotent afterward. You heard me: 100 percent of men who got a radical prostatectomy — the procedure I’m contemplating — couldn’t get an erection afterward. For generations, the treatment for prostate cancer was worse than the disease. A lot of men died on the operating table. Along came “the Michelangelo of prostate surgery,” Dr. Patrick Walsh, who pioneered a procedure that saved the sex lives of countless men. Would it save mine? (Warning: Explicit language.)

Mark Shanahan can be reached at mark.shanahan@globe.com. Follow him @MarkAShanahan.