Low-intensity Shockwaves for Peyronie's disease
Peyronie’s disease, also known as Induratio Penis Plastica (IPP), is a benign disease of the penis caused by the development of scar tissue inside the penis. The accumulation of scar tissue creates plaques that hinder penile flexibility and hardening, and which cause pain and curvature of the penis when erect.
The aetiology of this condition is not fully understood, but it is believed to be the result of a micro-trauma to the penis, which causes the formation of scar tissue in the tunica albuginea, resulting in pain, abnormal curvature, and erectile dysfunction.
Peyronie’s disease affects 9% of men over the age of 35 years, but it is not always easily diagnosed because, in many cases, it is asymptomatic. The degree of symptoms depends on the plaque size, shape and location.
The leading causes of Peyronie’s disease
Although the causes of Peyronie's disease are not fully understood, several factors seem to be involved. In particular, repeated trauma or injury to the penis is thought to be a major cause, for example, during sex, sporting activity, or accidents.
During the healing process, disorganized scar tissue forms in the penis. This can create a palpable lump or development of a curve to the penis. Thus, Peyronie's disease seems to result from a disorder of wound healing.
Talk to your GP as soon as possible if you notice any of these six potential signs of Peyronie's disease:
- Changes in the shape of the penis during erection (for example, it curves when erect).
- Shortening of the penis.
- ‘Hourglass’ narrowing of the penis shaft.
- Lumps in the penis; that is, the presence of hardened lesions on palpation.
- Pain in the penis (at rest or during an erection).
- Erectile dysfunction.
In some cases, Peyronie's disease is asymptomatic. In all patients, the symptoms – and the degree to which they occur – depend on the size, shape, and position of the scar tissue plaque.
Extracorporeal shock wave therapy can be helpful in the management of Peyronie's disease to treat refractory penile pain and reduce plaque size.
A recent meta-analysis demonstrated a benefit in plaque size reduction and a statistically significant decrease in penile pain.
Thus, shock wave therapy seems to be a safe and effective non-invasive option for treating Peyronie’s disease and its subsequent complications.