Among the wide range of treatments for ED (e.g. Oral Drugs, Injections and Penile Implants), Vacuum Erection Device (VED) Therapy remains the safest, most effective and non-invasive treatment available. VED therapy is the only natural, drug free treatment for erectile dysfunction proven over 90% effective. VED therapy even works for diabetic and high blood pressure patients. Additionally, VED therapy is not associated with side effects common to oral medications. Best of all studies have shown that both patients and their partners report a high level of satisfaction with VED therapy.
About half of men with erectile dysfunction choose VED therapy. Many choose to VED therapy because they take blood pressure medications or nitrates, which can be contraindicated with the leading PDE5 inhibitors (Viagra, Cialis, etc.). Others chose VED therapy because oral medications are ineffective after prostate surgery, because the nerves ending to the prostate are in a state of shock or injury. Some people use vacuum erection devices in conjunction with oral medications (Viagra, Cialis, etc.) to help enhance the effectiveness of such medications.
Many men choose vacuum erection devices because of its high success rate. Oral medication is effective 60-70% of the time when there is no nerve damage present. Pellet suppositories (MUSE®) are successful about 50% of the time. Penis injections are successful around 75% of the time, but they can be painful and it’s difficult to determine dosage levels. VED therapy on the other hand, has a success rate of over 90%.
Vacuum therapy also has the benefit of being a non-invasive solution. Injections can cause fibrosis, or scar tissue build up which can cause curvature or bending of the penis. Penile implants permanently remove a man’s ability to have a natural erection. Vacuum therapy, however, circumvents both of these problems. Vacuum therapy can be used as an exercise to prevent atrophy (muscle shrinkage) in the penis. Men typically have 3-5 nocturnal (night-time) erections during sleep. If a person has ED, these natural erections do not occur. This can result in the penis shrinking in both length and circumference. Vacuum therapy allows for men to stretch the penis providing arterial blood flow to the penis to help maintain length and size.
There are some risks to vacuum therapy. Some of these risks include: potential pain, bruising, numbness, or a cold sensation in the penis. Some men find the tension band irritating and may prevent ejaculation.
Vacuum erection devices are safe and can be used by patients with ED caused by many conditions, including:
Note: Vacuum erection devices should not be used by men who may have a significant congenital bleeding disorder or a disorder that predisposes you to a condition called priapism (a prolonged, sometime painful erection lasting over several hours). Examples include sickle cell anemia, some forms of leukemia, and other blood conditions.
Certain medical procedures—like radical prostatectomies—can cause temporary impotence as a result of nerve damage. About 40-85% of patients reported ED for up to 18 months after surgery.
To help manage ED following prostate surgery the 2007 Annual American Urological Association Conference published their recommendations for use of vacuum therapy devices to be highly successful in post-operative rehabilitation for gentlemen who have undergone prostate surgery. The use of vacuum therapy systems to obtain erections several times a day and several times per week (please consult your physician for details on recommended therapy) simulates the previously occurring spontaneous nocturnal (night-time) erections that are no longer occurring due to trauma to the nerves and the prostate region. Spontaneous nocturnal erections are nature’s way of maintaining oxygenated blood flow to the penis, therefore maintaining overall health of the penis. The studies show decreased atrophy (muscle shrinkage) of the penis, decreased recovery times and increased successful erections with the use of vacuum erection devices. Note some physicians will prescribe a combination of both oral medication and VED therapy following prostate surgery.
In addition to ED after prostate surgery one of the most embarrassing side effects of prostatectomy is the shrinkage of the penis, both in circumference and length. Penile shrinkage is common among men who have had prostate surgery and tends to worsen over time. However, VED therapy has been shown to help patients maintain peroperative penis size. In a clinical study, 63% of patients who didn’t use a vacuum erection device after a prostatectomy suffered from penis shrinkage vs. shrinkage in only 23% of the patients who routinely used a vacuum erection device 1. Other clinical studies have reported early sexual function, penile length preservation and high satisfaction rates among men who routinely used a vacuum erection device after prostate surgery.