Vascular Reconstructive Surgery

Vascular reconstructive surgery is performed to improve the blood supply of the penis with the intent of improving a man's ability to get and maintain an erection.

Because the procedure is very difficult to perform, expensive, and does not always work, it is very selectively performed.

Advantages of the surgery include:

  • The restoration of natural erections if successful
  •  A natural appearance
  • No implant required
  • If unsuccessful, does not interfere with other treatments

Only a very small percentage of men are eligible for the surgery, particularly young men who are suffering from erectile dysfunction as a result of trauma to the penis or perineum. If you fall in this group and would once again like the ability to get an erection, talk to your doctor about the possibility of vascular reconstructive surgery.

Extensive testing is required for men prior to undergoing this surgery, including vascular radiology studies, such as angiogram and duplex ultrasonography of the penis and its blood vessels.

During the surgery, the blocked arteries are bypassed by transferring an artery from an abdominal muscle to a penile artery or to a penile vein that is then modified to act like an artery. This way, a path to the penis is created that bypasses the area of the blockage that is inhibiting blood flow to the penis; therefore, blood makes it to the penis, and an erection can occur and/or last.

In addition to very few men being candidates for the surgery, there are very few health centers across the United States with the experience and expertise necessary for performing vascular reconstructive surgeries. Complications may include over-engorgement of the glands of the penis or clotting off of the blood vessel bypass.

Another vascular surgery for the penis is penile vein ligation performed to block the leakage of blood out of an erection.  Some men have erectile dysfunction, because the veins allow the blood to drain out of the penis too easily, and they cannot generate or hold an erection. The surgery is considered investigatory, because the best technique has not definitively been established. The immediate success of this surgery is unpredictable, and the long term failure rate is high. Complications may include over-engorgement of the glands of the penis, eventual scarring, and shortening or numbness of the penis.

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