Low- intensity Shock Wave Therapy (LiSWT) for Erectile Dysfunction
In some men with declining erections, particularly if this is due to narrowed blood vessels (vascular disease), the use of low-energy shock waves to the penis may improve the strength of erections.
In the field of Urology shock waves have already been used for many years to break up kidney stones (lithotripsy). They are also very widely used in the treatment of orthopaedic problems, for example tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciiits.
In the field of Men’s Health, the use of shock waves has opened up opportunities for enhancing the success of treatments for chronic prostatitis, Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction. Its use has been steadily increasing worldwide since 2013, particularly in Europe and North America.
There is still some discussion about exactly how shock wave therapy works in erectile dysfunction, but it appears to promote stem cells to migrate to the treated area, and for new small blood vessels to develop and open up in the penis.
There have been a small number of studies published in reputable medical journals supporting this therapy and showing it to be a worthwhile option for some men with erection problems. Men who respond to oral erection drugs, the PDE5 drugs, like Viagra, may find they no longer need it, or men where Viagra no longer works may find that after LiSWT they start responding to Viagra again.
In this non-invasive treatment, acoustic or shock waves, which are pulsed sound waves, are delivered by a hand-held device which is applied to the skin of the penis in several areas.
The number of shockwave pulses delivered, as well as their frequency and energy, are customised to each condition treated and to each individual patient.
Extensive experience to date has shown that it is a very safe treatment, with no complications. It does not cause any damage to surrounding nerves and blood vessels. In fact, shock wave therapy is being used to treat certain cases of neuralgia (pain caused by a nerve).
It does not require an anaesthetic and is comfortable, with most men experiencing a mild tingling feeling in the penis with each shock wave. The intensity of the shock wave can be adjusted, and this ensures the intensity of the treatment is below the patient’s pain
What is the treatment protocol for Shockwave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction?
That is treatment twice in week 1, twice in week 3 and twice in week 5.
Each session lasts about 20 -30 minutes, and is administered by the specialist Urology Nurses in the Urology Clinic, under the direction of Dr. Love
Before and after the treatments, we get the patient to fill in questionnaires about their erection problem and erection hardness, so that we can monitor improvement.
What are the relative contraindications of LiSWT therapy?
- Long-term treatment with oral steroids (eg prednisone).
- A known blood-clotting disorder or those patients taking anticoagulants such as warfarin or the newer oral anticoagulants (eg apixaban, rivaroxaban). Note that aspirin is not a contraindication.
What is the cost of LiSWT for Erectile Dysfuntion?
The total cost for the six treatment sessions is $1200.
Sometimes, if we are doing a research study, a course of treatment may be available at no cost to the patient
Please note that this cost does not include the initial assessment consultation with Dr Love. This important initial assessment will determine whether you are likely to benefit from shock wave treatment, and which treatment combination will best suit your personal situation