What is Penile Curvature?

Peyronie’s disease is caused by scar tissue (or plaque) that develops in the erectile body of the penis. The scarring may develop after significant trauma to the penis or by incidental mild trauma during normal intercourse. This scar tissue leads to curvature or bending of a man’s erection. Curvature of the penis may make sexual intercourse painful, difficult, or sometimes impossible.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of Peyronie’s disease are a bump or lump under the skin of the penis, pain with an erection, or changes in the shape of the penis when erect, such as curvature, an indentation, or narrowing or shortening.

Diagnosis

Your urologist will diagnose Peyronie’s disease, beginning by taking a thorough medical history and performing a physical examination. To examine how the penis curves when erect, the doctor will inject a medication into the penis to induce an erection. Often an ultrasound is performed at the time of penile injection to assess the plaque that causes curvature.

Monitor only: In men whose Peyronie’s disease doesn’t cause enough curvature to result in problems with sex, treatment is not necessary.  Additionally, some men experience improvement of Peyronie’s symptoms within six to twelve months without treatment.

Stretching: Non-invasive stretching exercises or use of a penile traction device may improve penile curvature.

Intralesional injection: A series of in-office injections into the scar tissue (lesion) can help break down the plaque that causes a curved erection. Injections are followed by at-home stretching and straightening activities. Xiaflex injections are the only FDA-approved medical treatment for Peyronie’s disease. Other medications, including Verapamil and Interferon have been studied as viable treatments.

Penile Plication: the surgeon uses sutures to compress the tissue on the opposite side of the curvature, which shortens that side of the penis, straightening the erection.

Grafting: The plaque that is causing curvature is cut or partially excised. The scarred area is replaced with a graft material.

Penile Implant: A penile implant is a device that is placed into the penis during a surgical procedure. Bendable or inflatable implants can restore erectile function and straighten the erection. Placement of a penile implant may be combined with plication or grafting for further straightening if needed.

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