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Vacuum Devices as an Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Mechanical vacuum devices cause an erection by creating a partial vacuum, which draws blood into the penis, engorging and expanding it. These treatment devices have three components:
 
  • A plastic cylinder, into which the penis is placed
 
  • A pump, which draws air out of the cylinder
 
  • An elastic band, which is placed around the base of the penis to maintain the erection after the cylinder is removed and during intercourse by preventing blood from flowing back into the body.
     
One variation of the vacuum device for erectile dysfunction treatment involves a semi-rigid rubber sheath that is placed on the penis and remains there after erection is attained and during intercourse.
 

Treating Erectile Dysfunction Through Surgery

Surgery for erectile dysfunction usually has one of three goals:
 
  • Implant a device that can cause the penis to become erect
  • Reconstruct arteries to increase blood flow to the penis
  • Block off veins that allow blood to leak from the penile tissues.
     
Implanted Devices
Implanted devices used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction include prostheses, malleable implants, and inflatable implants.
 
  • Prostheses can restore erection in many men with erectile dysfunction. Possible problems with these implants include mechanical breakdown and infection, although mechanical problems have diminished in recent years because of technological advances.
 
  • Malleable implants usually consist of paired rods, which are inserted surgically into the corpora cavernosa. The user manually adjusts the position of the penis and, therefore, the rods. Adjustment does not affect the width or length of the penis.
 
  • Inflatable implants consist of paired cylinders, which are surgically inserted inside the penis and can be expanded using pressurized fluid. Tubes connect the cylinders to a fluid reservoir and a pump, which are also surgically implanted. For this type of treatment, the person inflates the cylinders by pressing on the small pump, located under the skin in the scrotum. Inflatable implants can expand the length and width of the penis somewhat. They also leave the penis in a more natural state when not inflated.
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