If you are suffering from a penile deformity, scarring, and pain that is making it difficult to have sex, you might be one of the 13% of men with Peyronie’s disease. Peyronie’s disease, also known as penile fibrosis, is a connective tissue disorder in which fibrous scarring forms inside the penis, appearing in form of plaques (patches of scar tissue below the skin layer). Peyronie’s disease causes pain with erections and significant curving of the penis as the plaques pull on the skin.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
Symptoms for Peyronie’s disease can either develop suddenly or gradually. Some of the most common symptoms of Peyronie’s disease are:
- Pain While most common during erections, pain may be felt otherwise, as well.
- Scarring Peyronie’s disease causes patches of scar tissue called plaques. It can be felt under the skin as hard patches or small lumps.
- Erectile Dysfunction Plaques caused by Peyronie’s disease can interfere with the blood flow needed to maintain an erection.
- Curving of the Penis A curvature of the penis can be normal. However, Peyronie’s disease can cause significant bending as the plaques pull the skin to one side.
- Shortening of the Penis Due to the bending of the penis to one side, the tunica albuginea (a band of hard fibrous tissue surrounding the erectile parts of the penis) may be unable to expand, resulting in a shortened penis.
- Penile Deformity Patients with Peyronie’s disease may also have other physical issues, such as indentations or hourglass-shaped penile deformities.
Treatment Options for Peyronie’s Disease
A neglected case of Peyronie’s disease can be troublesome. The earliest it’s treated, the better the outcome, which is why it’s recommended to see a urologist as soon as you notice any of its signs.
Treatment options for Peyronie’s disease include both medical treatment and surgical interventions.
Non-surgical treatment options for Peyronie’s disease include:
- Medications A wide range of medicinal options are available for treatment of Peyronie’s disease, including oral medications, injections, and topical treatments. They all aim to disrupt fibrous plaque formation; thus, decreasing the curvature of the penis and improving the condition.
- Collagenase (Xiaflex®) FDA-approved treatment for Peyronie’s disease in the form of injections. It works on breaking down collagen, which forms scar tissue. This slows down the formation of the plaques and improves the curvature. It is usually most effective when used along with “modeling,” which is a term for pulling the penis opposite the direction of the curvature.
- Verapamil Verapamil injections are usually used to treat increased blood pressure. However, it has a disrupting effect on collagen production. It may also help relieve pain.
- Interferons Despite not having a significant effect on plaque size, interferon injections are proven to markedly reduce pain.
- Other Medical Therapies Other forms of non-surgical interventions used to treat Peyronie’s disease include high-frequency sound waves and low-intensity shock waves, which are proven to decrease the size of plaques and improve penile curvature.
- Traction Therapy This is the process of applying traction forces on the penis using a specific contraption. These forces help improve the penile deformity and restore original length.
Surgical interventions used to treat Peyronie’s disease include:
- Plication (Suturing) In this procedure, the unaffected side of the penis (the one with no scar tissue) is plicated or sutured, resulting in elimination of the penile curvature. Plication is usually recommended for mild to moderate cases.
- Grafting The surgeon makes several cuts to remove plaques, which helps the tissue regain its expandability and the penis is straightened once again. Then, a graft (a piece of tissue) of your skin, animal skin, or a synthetic material is put in place of the removed tissue. This procedure is usually recommended in more severe cases compared to plication.
- Implant A synthetic implant is inserted in the corpus spongiosum (the spongy tissue inside the penis that holds blood vessels and fills up during erections). With the implant in place, the surgeon may recommend additional treatment to improve the curvature, if called for. Surgical implants are usually recommended for men with Peyronie’s disease who also suffer from erectile dysfunction. In some cases, other treatments might be used along with surgery to ensure optimal treatment results.
Highly Experienced Urologist in Phoenix, Arizona
Dr. Desiderio Avila of Ironwood Urology has a wealth of experience treating all types of men’s health and urological conditions. Dr. Avila is committed to helping you obtain the optimal treatment results you need. Our dedicated men’s healthcare program aims to provide every man with the care he deserves.