Low-intensity Shock Wave Therapy (LiSWT) for Erectile Dysfunction

Dr Christopher Love specialises in treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

An emerging therapy for Erectile Dysfunction, the use of low energy shock waves may improve the strength of erections.

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 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 fasciitis.

In the field of Men’s Health, the use of shock waves has been suggested for enhancing the success of treatments for chronic prostatitis, Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction.

LiSWT use has been steadily increasing worldwide since 2013, particularly in Europe and North America.

Watch Video: Dr Love discusses LiSWT

How does LiSWT work?

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, but probably only those whose underlying erection problem is due to poor blood flow into the penis.

Men who currently respond to oral erection drugs, the PDE5 drugs, like Viagra, may find they no longer need them after LiSWT, or men where Viagra no longer works may find that after LiSWT they start responding to Viagra again.

What does LiSWT feel like? Is it safe?

In this non-invasive treatment, shock waves, which are pulsed sound waves, are delivered by a 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 threshold.

How many times do I have to have LiSWT to treat Erectile Dysfunction?

The most common recommendation 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 Nurse, under the direction of Dr. Love.

Before and after the treatments, you will fill in questionnaires about your erection problem and erection hardness, so that we can monitor improvement, and help us understand how well it is working.

  • LiSWT is not suitable for you if you are taking the following medications:
  • Long-term treatment with oral steroids (e.g. prednisone).
  • A known blood-clotting disorder
  • Patients taking anticoagulants such as warfarin or the newer oral anticoagulants (e.g. apixaban, rivaroxaban). Note that aspirin is not a contraindication.

What is the cost of LiSWT?

Neither Medicare nor private health funds offer any rebates for this therapy unfortunately.

Sometimes, if we are doing a research study and asking patients to fill out lots of questionnaires etc, a course of treatment may be available at little or no cost to the patient.

The cost for a standard individual treatment session, based on the time taken, the equipment and nursing costs, is $200. As Dr. Love sees every patient during every treatment some rebate from Medicare for his consultation may be available.

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 give you realistic expectations for outcome.

Watch Video: Dr Love discusses Erectile Dysfunction

Dr Christopher Love is the most experienced Penile Implant Surgeon in Australia.

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