Characterized by the inability to get or keep an erection for sexual intercourse, erectile dysfunction is common (up to 50%) and can cause distress and low self-esteem, especially when it has a negative impact on the relationship.
First used as a non-invasive treatment for urinary stones, Li-ESWT uses acoustic shockwaves, at a much lower intensity than that used to treat urinary stones, to stimulate the development of new blood vessels in erectile tissues, addressing the underlying pathology.
An erection requires a good amount of blood to flow into the penis and not flow out too quickly to maintain rigidity. In men suffering from ED due to reduced blood flow to the penis Li-ESWT results in increased blood flow to the penis, allowing them to attain and maintain erections for sexual performance.
Li-ESWT might not treat only symptoms but possibly cure the cause of organic erectile dysfunction, which has long been viewed as an irreversible condition.
Shockwave therapy lasts for fifteen minutes per session, during which a probe is lightly placed on various areas of the penis. There is no pain but a tingling or tapping feeling. Treatment sessions are done 1 to 3 times a week for six to eighteen times depending on the severity of the erectile dysfunction as more sessions have been shown to have better efficacy.
Neurotoxins inhibit the release of acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, decreasing smooth muscle resistance and improving penile blood flow allowing for stronger, more sustained erections.
Studies show that it can work for patients that did not respond to other therapies, decreasing the number of patients requiring penile implant surgery.
Unlike vasodilator injections which have to be performed before every sexual intercourse, a single neurotoxin injection will last for months. Furthermore, the risk of serious complications like priapism is much lower.
To Dr Wan, it is important to evaluate patients in detail in order to uncover any underlying causes for erectile dysfunction instead of giving out blue pills like candy.
Oral PDE-I drugs have been commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction but they require planning (unsexy!) for intercourse, have side effects and drug interactions, may not work, and most importantly they only address the symptoms but not the underlying problem. Other solutions like injections, pumps, surgical implants are even less sexy and even a little scary.
Dr Wan prefers long-lasting hassle-free treatments that target the root processes that lead to erectile dysfunction, allowing better spontaneity. For example, for erectile dysfunction especially non-responsive to non-invasive treatments, injectable medications can be used. However, the traditional prostaglandin/trimix injections have to be injected before each sexual intercourse, whereas neurotoxin injections produce improvements lasting months.
Shockwave therapy has been shown to be quick, safe, effective and comfortable. What’s more, it is not cumbersome, increases spontaneity, and may even reverse the underlying causative factor in erectile dysfunction. In Dr Wan’s opinion, shockwave therapy is a promising and legitimate treatment option that all suitable patients should definitely consider.
FOUNDER / MEDICAL DIRECTOR