Does Shockwave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction Work?

Using shockwave therapy for erectile dysfunction is among one of the newer and less invasive ways to treat this common sexual challenge. Also known as penile extracorporeal low-intensity shockwave therapy, this method involves the use of lower intensity acoustic pulse waves that focus on and break up micro plaque in the penis, which in turn improves blood flow. The waves also induce the release of nitric oxide, another process that boosts blood circulation, as well as stimulates the formation of new blood vessels (neovascularization).

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Shock waves may change future of ED therapy

A shock wave is a wave of energy that travels faster than the speed of sound. Urologists commonly apply the energy, during shock wave lithotripsy, to break up kidney stones.

But when directed at a scarred penis, the therapy is different.

Linear shock waves used for erectile dysfunction use about one-tenth of the energy of traditional shock wave machines for kidney stones. And rather than break something down, as is the case with stones, shock waves make the penis healthier, according to Ranjith Ramasamy, MD, director of male reproductive urology at the University of Miami.

 “Stay tuned. It’s exciting,” said Arthur L. Burnett, MD, MBA, professor of urology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore. “But it would be good to study it enough to make sure we’re providing good care to patients.”

ED is extremely prevalent, according to Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of San Diego Sexual Medicine and director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego.

“It’s ridiculously and horribly bothersome and distressing. It affects mood. It affects ego. It’s frustrating to the partner, and the man feels not a man anymore,” he said.

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