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Men's Health

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What Is Peyronie's Disease?

How Do Doctors Diagnose Peyronie's Disease?

Tell your doctor about anything, such as an injury, that happened before the symptoms started.

You’ll get an exam in which your doctor will feel the hardened tissue caused by the disease during an exam. It’s not always necessary, but if the penis has to be erect for the exam, the doctor would inject a medicine to make that happen.

There’s a chance you may need to get an X-ray or ultrasound of the penis.

It’s rare, but in some cases where the doctor's exam does not confirm Peyronie's disease, or if the condition develops rapidly, your doctor may do a biopsy. That involves removing a little bit of tissue from the affected area for lab tests.

Can Peyronie's Disease Be Treated?

Yes, but you might not need it.

Since the condition improves without treatment in some men, doctors often suggest waiting 1 to 2 years or longer before they try to correct it.

Mild cases of the condition rarely need treatment. Also, the pain that comes from Peyronie's disease happens only with an erection and is usually mild. If it’s not causing a problem with your sex life, treatment may not be necessary.

What Treatments Are Available?

If you need treatment, your doctor will consider surgery or medicine.

First, your doctor will probably prescribe a pill, such as pentoxifylline or potassium para-aminobenzoate (Potaba).

If those don’t work, you may get a shot of verapamil or collagenase (Xiaflex) into the scar tissue of the penis. If nothing else works, your doctor may consider surgery, but usually only for men who can’t have sex because of their Peyronie’s disease.

The two most common operations are:

  • Remove the plaque and get a tissue graft in its place.
  • Remove or alter the tissue on the side of the penis opposite the plaque, which counters the disease's bending effect.

Unfortunately, these procedures aren’t a sure solution. With the first method, you could have some erection problems. The second method, which doctors call the Nesbit procedure, shortens the erect penis.

In some cases, it may be an option to get a penile prosthesis implanted. This treatment is only for men who have both Peyronie's disease and ED (erectile dysfunction).

Most types of surgery help. But because of the possibility of complications that can’t be corrected, most doctors prefer to operate only on the small number of men with curvature so severe that it prevents sex.

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