Acoustic Wave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction and Peyronie’s Disease

Acoustic Wave therapy, also known as low-intensity shockwave therapy (Li-ESWT), has been used for years to help with wound healing and improve healing of bone fractures and damaged or inflamed tendons and ligaments.

Now, this treatment is being offered for men with erectile dysfunction (ED) caused by inadequate blood flow to the penis, called vasculogenic ED.

Acoustic Waves for ED: Boosting the Blood Flow

Qualified urologists say that Acoustic Waves may be an option, particularly, for men with mild to moderate ED who’ve had success with medications known as phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors.

The wand-like device for providing Acoustic Wave therapy has a very long track record as a device in terms of efficacy and safety. If someone, for instance, takes a PDE5 inhibitor and has a great response but wants to not have to take it, those are patients who typically do very well with the treatment.

Erections require a sufficient blood supply, and anything that limits blood flow to the penis — such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes — can lead to ED.

With Acoustic Wave therapy, a physician uses a wand-like device to deliver mild shockwaves right to the penis. Studies have found that the treatment is associated with the growth of new blood vessels and (in animal studies) recruitment of stem cells to the penis.

In a recent meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials involving a total of nearly 900 men with vasculogenic ED, researchers reported that, compared with sham treatment, Acoustic Wave therapy resulted in significant improvements in measures of erectile function and penile blood flow.

What type of results can you expect from Acoustic Waves?

For men with vasculogenic ED, doctors provide Acoustic Wave therapy once a week for six weeks, although the ideal treatment protocol has yet to be determined. Each treatment session lasts about 15 minutes. No anesthesia is necessary, and for upwards of 95% of patients, the procedure is painless.

Experts find success about 62% of the time. I define success as going from no erections to having erections able to penetrate or having PDE5 inhibitors no longer work and now they work great. The benefits of treatment tend to remain durable for at least a year.

Who is a good candidate for Acoustic Wave Therapy?

Generally, men with mild to moderate vasculogenic ED who have had some response to PDE5 inhibitors are ideal candidates for Acoustic Wave therapy. Other men, such as those with nerve damage due to pelvic cancer surgery and those with ED resulting from psychological causes, typically don’t respond to the treatment, according to experts.

Although Acoustic Wave therapy has a long track record in medicine, its use for treating ED in the United States is relatively new. Insurance for Acoustic Waves treatment would be a very reasonable option as part of an integrated treatment approach.

Experts say, for the right patient who’s counseled the right way, it’s a low- to zero-risk treatment that may have surprisingly good effects. If it doesn’t break the bank for you to have this therapy, it’s certainly worth considering.

Men interested in better erections and sexual performance may see improvement with one of the newest treatments for ED. Acoustic Wave therapy for erectile dysfunction uses soundwaves waves to increase blood flow in the penis, so there’s no surgery, drugs, or invasive procedures.

It may be a good option for men who:

  1. Desire a treatment to reverse the underlying cause of ED.
  2. Look for a better response to the oral medicines used to treat ED.
  3. Want a non-invasive treatment for their ED before moving on to other options.

The typical treatment course is 6 treatments over 6 weeks, and 50-80% of patients will report an improvement in their erections 30 days after they have completed the full treatment cycle.

How long does Acoustic Wave Therapy for ED last?

Individual results will vary, however, some studies have shown that a positive response can last up to two years.

What does Acoustic Wave Therapy for ED feel like?

Prior to treatment patients will apply a numbing gel to the penis. Most patients say it feels like a light tapping or tingling sensation and do not experience pain.

What to expect at my appointment?

After patients apply the numbing gel and it takes effect, shockwaves will be directed to various areas around the shaft and base of the penis. Typically, treatment sessions will last about 15 to 20 minutes.

How long does the treatment take and how many treatments are recommended?

Treatment is a simple in-office procedure that takes around 15 to 20 minutes to perform. The typical patient will have six treatment appointments (one treatment per week for 6 weeks).

Is Acoustic Wave therapy effective?

Significant testing has been performed and many peer reviews prove Acoustic Wave therapy to be effective in 80% of patients.

Acoustic Weave Therapy for Peyronie’s Disease

Peyronie’s disease (PD) is a condition that affects the penis, usually causing painful erections, lumps in the penis, and a bend in the erection.

Although it can be progressive, it is not a malignant (cancerous) condition and it is not life-threatening.

What causes Peyronie’s disease?

The cause is not known for certain. A likely explanation is that it is an unusual reaction to injury to the penis, although most men with Peyronie’s do not recall having a specific injury. However the penis is subjected to varying degrees of stress and strain during penetrative sexual activity, and these relatively small injuries may result in some men developing the disease.

Who gets Peyronie’s disease?

The disease affects approximately one man in every hundred, perhaps even more. It is more common in older men, but all ages can be affected. There is an association between Peyronie’s disease and the hand condition Duypetren’s contracture, which causes one or more fingers to bend into the palm. About one in ten men with Duypetren’s contracture have Peyronie’s. However, no-one knows why some men get Peyronie’s disease and others don’t; it appears to be a matter of chance.

What happens in the disease?

Not every case of Peyronie’s disease is the same, but men usually first complain of painful erections or a bend in the erection, or both. Sometimes they notice lumps in the shaft of the penis, although these lumps may not be obvious initially. The symptoms may come on suddenly or slowly.

The symptoms usually get worse over a few months, but then stop progressing. The time course is very variable, but in most cases, the disease stops progressing after 6 to 18 months. In a few unfortunate cases, the disease continues to progress relentlessly, but this is rare.

When the disease stops progressing, the erections cease to be painful. The lumps in the penis may become harder and more obvious, and the bend in the erection stops getting worse. Sometimes the bend actually improves, although unfortunately, this is unusual.

What causes the bend?

The penis is made up for the most part of two big bundles of blood channels (or sinusoids) called the corpora cavernosa, or more simply known as the erectile tissue. These run along the whole length of the penis and on the inside have the appearance of a very fine honeycomb. At rest, when the penis is flaccid, they are empty. When a man gets an erection, large amounts of blood flow into the erectile tissue, filling the blood channels which increases the penile size and gives the penis its rigidity.

In Peyronie’s disease, the fibrous lumps block part of the erectile tissue, preventing the affected area from expanding. The rest of the penis is free to expand, so the erection becomes bent, with the lump at the apex of the bend.

More often than not the lumps are on the top surface of the penis, so the bend is usually in an upwards direction, towards the stomach; but it may be sideways or downwards.

Does Peyronie’s disease cause impotence?

Impotence is the lack of rigid erections, or the inability to maintain a rigid erection. Men with Peyronie’s disease are perhaps more likely to have less rigid erections although the association is not completely clear cut.

Impotence and Peyronie’s disease are both conditions that are more common in older men, so any associated impotence may be simply part of the aging process. Additionally, impotence may be psychological, particularly if the erection is painful, or if intercourse is difficult or impossible because of the bend.

Sometimes, however, the amount of fibrosis in the penis is so great that no blood can get past the fibrotic area to the tip of the penis. In these cases, the base of the penis may be rigid, but the tip is floppy.

How is Peyronie’s disease treated?

Once the disease has stopped progressing, it is perfectly possible to straighten the erection, should that be necessary.

Non-surgical treatments

Over the years a multitude of drugs has been tried in an attempt to cure Peyronie’s disease, or at least minimize the amount of deformity the disease causes. The most popular is Vitamin E, which is readily available from chemists and health food shops, and some prescription drugs are reported as being helpful but none has been proved to be of definite benefit in clinical trials.

Acoustic Wave Therapy for PD

Acoustic Wave Therapy has gained some popularity in recent years. The technology used is the same as is used to shatter kidney stones (lithotripsy). Multiple shock waves are fired at the lumps within the penis, breaking them up. Three treatments are usually given over a period of a few weeks. Acoustic Wave Therapy (Li-ESWT) seems to be most beneficial to men who have a lot of pain with their erections.

Any of our urologists can advise you on whether Acoustic Wave therapy may be right for you. Please get in touch with us here to get free advice.