Shockwave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction
The overall prevalence of ED is around 16 % in men, and it increases with age.
Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the consistent or recurrent inability to acquire or sustain an erection of sufficient rigidity and duration for sexual intercourse.
Though there are a variety of treatments for this problem, most men lean towards utilizing phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors.
Examples of these drugs are sildenafil, vardenfil, and tadalafil, known commonly as Viagra or Cialis
These are symptomatic treatments, meaning the cause is not corrected, only the manifestation.
A new treatment has arrived that allows men to return to their normal sexual function.
It was not until World War II that scientists became aware of the effects of shockwaves in the body. Soldiers that were in submarines suffered lung damage due to the shockwaves released from depth charges. What intrigued scientists at the time was that there was no visible external trauma and therefore concluded that there were shockwaves sent from a distance that led to the damage to the more susceptible lung tissue.
In the 1950’s there were many studies investigating the medical uses of shockwaves in humans. Incidentally, during the studies scientist found that they broke up items such as ceramic tile, thus leading to the production of an electrohydraulic shockwave generator.
During the 1980, ESWT was applied transcutaneously, or through the skin, for the first time in medicine to destroy a kidney stone in a human
In the early 2000s, devices featuring ballistic pressure waves were introduced into the Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) market. The waves were produced mechanically by a compressed air driven projectile, which hits the applicator.
This treatment was tested in patients with Erectile Dysfunction and were found to have positive results
The main idea of this treatment is to treat men with ED of vascular origin, and that the shockwaves would cause vasculogenesis (which is to create new blood vessels) and an increase in stem cell proliferation, thus allowing better blood flow to the penis, improving the quality of the erection
The premise behind this is, the more applications received, the better the blood flow, the better the function in the male member
The results were better the younger the patients and effectiveness will depend on the severity of erectile dysfunction of vascular origin
Various sessions in men with ED found that men that used vasogenic tablets such as Viagra, later had no need for it and that men that could not reach an erection even with the use of these pills could eventually reach it with the use of these pills after shockwave therapy. In other words, there was always an improvement, new hope for the couple, but personalized to each case.
The cost in the USA and Europe for this treatment ranges anywhere between $400 - $1,000 per application or $4,000 or more for an entire regimen.