Interventions to Enhance and/or Maintain Erections

Interventions to Enhance and/or Maintain Erections

  • Sildenafil (Viagra) is a medicine taken by mouth for erectile dysfunction. Research studies show that sildenafil improves the quality of erections in men with erectile dysfunction due to spinal cord injury between T6 and L5. Men who have low or high blood pressure or vascular disease should not take sildenafil. Some medications cannot be taken with sildenafil so all medications should be reviewed with the prescribing physician.
  • Penile injection therapy, such as alprostadil, involves injecting the penis with medication to produce an erection. These drugs must be used exactly as prescribed by the physician. This method is not recommended to be used more than once a week.
  • Medicated Urethral System Erection (MUSE) is a transurethral medication option. A medicated pellet (alprostadil) is placed in the urethra where it is absorbed into the surrounding tissue. The medication causes the blood vessels to relax and the penis fills with blood causing an erection.
  • The vacuum pump is a mechanical option for producing an erection sufficient for intercourse. The penis is placed in a vacuum cylinder and air is pumped out of the cylinder causing blood to be drawn into the erectile tissues. The erection is maintained by placing a constriction ring around the base of the penis. It is important to remove the ring after intercourse to prevent any skin breakdown.
  • Surgical implantation of a permanent penile prosthesis is another option for erectile dysfunction. It involves inserting an implant directly into the erectile tissue.

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