Its impossible to avoid damaging nerves during any surgery, and especially in the perinium, which is attached to a very sensitive and widespread network. Wherever you cut through the skin, you have to cut through nerves. The urethra is also surrounded by muscle, so damaging the muscle and the nerves attached to it is unavoidable when performing any surgery on it.
The area can experience nerve issues for at least a year to some extent, and minor twinges and sensations can often last even longer. The incision site itself will probably never return to normal completely, with numbness being the most common lasting effect. Everything else attached to the pelvic nerve will return to normal over time.
Doctors really should be more clear about these things before the surgery, so people at least know what to expect. I’m fortunate that my doctor at UW was very open about possible after-effects.