This paper from Holland will be useful for urologists involved in radical prostatectomy (RP) for cancer of the prostate. It presents a PubMed search between 1980 and 2012. Twenty-five out of 124 articles were further analysed, mainly English-language papers. Several assessment techniques for urethral sphincter function (USF) were identified e.g. sphincter electromyography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), perfusion sphincterometery and urethral pressure profilometry (UPP). Endorectal MRI is promising for analysing the anatomy of the male perineum and pelvic floor. Four studies reported on the role of pre and postoperative membranous urethral length, in recovery of continence after RP. UPP is also used to measure external sphincter function and record maximum urethral closure pressure. These are initial observations. Further and larger studies are needed to show the role of MRI and UPP in preoperative work-up of patients awaiting RP.