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We examined the time dependent rates of urinary continence following open retropubic radical prostatectomy.A total of 1,995 men treated with radical prostatectomy were enrolled in a prospective longitudinal outcomes study. The UCLA-PCI-UFS (UCLA-Prostate Cancer Index-Urinary Function Index) was administered at baseline, and 3, 6, 12, 24, 96, 120 and 180 months after open retropubic radical prostatectomy. Urinary continence was defined by 1 pad or less in 24 hours. Two multiple regression models were constructed to evaluate the association of time since open retropubic radical prostatectomy with the UCLA-PCI-UFI score and urinary continence.The decrease in urinary continence rates between baseline and 15 years (99.6% vs 87.2%, p <0.001), and 2 and 15 years (95.3% vs 87.2%, p = 0.021) were statistically significant. Urinary continence rates were consistently higher in the younger group at all time points.A significant decrease in urinary continence rates was observed between baseline and 2 years, and between 2 and 15 years in the entire cohort. Urinary continence rates in age matched men in the general population who were followed longitudinally for 15 years were comparable to those in our study population. This suggests that while open retropubic radical prostatectomy causes primarily sphincteric urinary incontinence, it may be protective for subsequent benign prostatic hyperplasia mediated urinary incontinence.