Minimally Invasive Therapy For Treating Erectile Dysfunction

For many men who suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence, the new minimally invasive therapy may be just what the doctor ordered.  Men with ED are traditionally treated with oral medications such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra.  This successfully works in 80-85% of men, at least for a while.  Then the medications may be less effective especially in men with associated conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, or hypertension.

The next level of treatment may be self-injection therapy using medications that increase the blood supply to the penis.  This consists of using a small needle to inject medication directly into the penis 15-30 minutes before engaging in sexual intimacy.  This medication allows an erection to last for 30-40 minutes.  The other option is to use a vacuum device, which is a long plastic tube, applied to the penis.  The air around the penis is evacuated to create a partial vacuum, which allows blood to rush into the penis that is trapped by the application of a thick rubber band at the base of the penis.

If these treatments don’t work, then the man either gives up on his sex life or agrees to a surgical procedure to insert a penile prosthesis.  The most commonly used prosthesis is an inflatable prosthesis that allows a man to have an erection whenever he wants and the erection will last as long as the man wishes to maintain the erection.  After the man has ended his sexual encounter, he can touch a release button on the prosthesis, and the penis becomes soft or flaccid.  The prosthesis is entirely concealed inside the penis and no one can tell that the man has the prosthesis in place.  The insertion of the prosthesis usually requires a general anesthesia and takes 45-120 minutes to perform.  Most men will stay in the hospital overnight and are discharged the day after the procedure.

Now a new technique, which was developed by a Florida urologist, allows the procedure to be done under local anesthesia in less than 15 minutes.  The whole procedure is done through a small opening 1-2 inches long in the lower abdomen.  Men are able to leave the one-day stay surgical facility in a few hours after the procedure or as soon as the man can urinate.  Most men only require an oral pain pill for a day or two after the procedure.  Men can begin using the prosthesis one to two days after the procedure and most men can begin having sexual intimacy in 3-4 weeks afterwards.  Most insurance companies, including Medicare, pay for the procedure.

Bottom Line: If you are suffering from ED and the oral medications are no longer effective, see your doctor, as you may be a candidate for minimally invasive treatment.  You and your partner will be happy you found a treatment that works for you.

Dr. Neil Baum is a urologist who specializes in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.  He can be reached at 504 891-8454 or via his website, http://www.neilbaum.com

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