Review Article

The science of vacuum erectile device in penile rehabilitation after radical prostatectomy

Haocheng Lin, Run Wang


Introduction: Radical prostatectomy (RP) is a standard surgical treatment for clinically localized prostate cancer. Erectile dysfunction (ED) and penile shrinkage are common complications. Vacuum Erectile Device (VED) therapy uses negative pressure to distend the corporal sinusoids and to increase blood inflow into the penis. It is the second most commonly used method for penile rehabilitation after RP. However, the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. This paper is designed to review the scientific evidences of VED therapy after RP and discuss the possible mechanisms.
Methods: We reviewed published papers of post-prostatectomy penile rehabilitation using VED. We analyzed the scientific evidences of VED therapy and discussed the possible underlying mechanisms.
Results: There are existing clinical evidences for VED therapy to improve ED and preserve penile size. Emerging basic scientific evidence is available and further study is still needed to understand the mechanisms at the molecular level.
Conclusions: Current clinical evidences support the safety, tolerability, effectiveness and benefits of early VED therapy after RP. The available basic scientific evidences demonstrate that VED therapy for penile rehabilitation is achieved by increasing arterial inflow, anti-apoptotic, anti-fibrotic and anti-hypoxia mechanisms.

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