1100 Queensborough Blvd Unit 102, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

shockwave therapy for erectile dysfunction

Low-intensity shockwave therapy is the most well-studied form of regenerative therapy for erectile dysfunction available. The Men’s Center is the only men’s health clinic in the area to offer Focused Shockwave therapy for Erectile Dysfunction (ED). In contrast, many clinics offer radial acoustic wave therapy, an unproven treatment for ED.

But what does regenerative mean?

Well, for the vast majority of men, erectile dysfunction is the result of gradual reduction in blood flow to the penis caused by peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Risk factors for PVD include age, family history, diabetes, smoking, hypertension, obesity, and high cholesterol. ED is the symptom, and PVD is the cause of the symptom.

Most treatments for ED–such as pills, penile injections, and vacuum devices–simply treat the symptoms caused by PVD, but do nothing to reverse the cause. Regenerative treatments are actually intended to reverse the PVD process by stimulating regrowth of blood vessels. In short, regenerative strategies address the underlying cause rather than just treating the symptoms that follow.

Regenerative strategies for PVD in the penis include commonly used techniques such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP, the “P-shot”) and stem-cell products. The data for these approaches are mixed. In contrast, Li-SWT is the regenerative strategy with the most robust and convincing data to support both safety and efficacy for treatment of ED. Of men with ED caused by PVD, about 60-80% report significantly improved erectile function after 6-12 sessions of Li-SWT, even the men for whom Viagra and Cialis were ineffective.

It is critical to note that there are different forms of shockwave therapy being utilized at sexual health clinics. They are NOT equivalent. In prospective, double-blinded, placebo controlled clinical trials, ONLY focused shockwave therapy has been shown to be effective for treating erectile dysfunction.

In contrast, other techniques such as radial acoustic wave therapy have no solid data to support use. Unfortunately, most sexual health clinics utilize the latter technology, and they may not make that clear to you prior to treatment. Why would a provider use a clearly inferior shockwave approach? First, because the focused shockwave machine is far more expensive. Second, because a focused shockwave machine can only be purchased and operated by a medical professional (many clinics are owned by non-medical people). Last, because some providers may actually not know the difference between the two technologies, or be unaware of the data. You may be surprised how many clinics offer trendy treatments that they don’t fully understand.

So, how does focused shockwave actually work?

Well, we know that LI-SWT causes microscopic trauma called shear stress. This causes the platelets and the cells lining the blood vessels to release high concentrations of growth factors, very important signaling molecules that tell the body to grow new blood vessels. These include vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). These growth factors have been shown to increase by many times following even a single shockwave session. Both in petri dishes and in animal models, shockwave treatment has been shown to elicit neovascularization (growth of new blood vessels) beginning about 4 weeks later. Essentially, Li-SWT turns back the clock on the process of peripheral vascular disease.

Blood flow is the key to good erections.

Shockwave Q&A with dr. k

Q: Do all types of shockwave therapy work to treat ED?
A: NO. The only wave therapy proven to work for treatment of ED is called FOCUSED SHOCKWAVE THERAPY. Focused shockwave therapy has been shown to significantly improve erectile function in men with vasculogenic ED (the most common type) in randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled clinical trials. There is NO strong evidence of efficacy for other therapies including radial acoustic wave therapy.
Focused shockwave therapy addresses the root cause of ED.

Q: How do I know if I have vasculogenic ED rather than another kind?
A: Vasculogenic ED is the most common type. Other types are neurogenic or psychogenic. We can usually discern between the three based upon your medical history. Furthermore, if you have any response to pills such as Viagra or Cialis you likely have a vasculogenic cause of ED.

Q: How does focused shockwave therapy work to improve vasculogenic ED?
A: Shockwave therapy causes microscopic trauma to the erectile bodies of the penis, causing release of growth factors which stimulate growth of new blood vessels, improving blood flow and rigidity of erections.

Q: How long does it take to work?
A: Typically, men see positive results at about 1-3 months after starting treatment.

Q: Does focused shockwave therapy hurt?
A: No. Most people feel no sensation at all because the energy penetrates far beneath the skin (where sensation is most). A few people feel mild vibration but no pain.
In contrast, treatments such as acoustic wave therapy do not penetrate deeply and therefore generally require medication to numb the skin.

Q: How long does a shockwave treatment take?
A: About 15 minutes.

Q: How many treatments are required?
A: Not surprisingly, there is a relationship between efficacy of shockwave therapy and number of treatments. Therefore, we usually recommend more treatments for men with more severe ED. Many studies used 6 treatments, and patients usually choose between 6 and 12 treatments. In our experience, most men who see improvement after 6 treatments are so encouraged that they continue to a 12-treatment course.

Q: Are there risks?
A: As with any procedure, there are risks. However, complications are very rare. The most common complication is mild bruising.

Q: Where can I find focused shockwave therapy for ED?
A: The Men’s Center is the only men’s health clinic in the Lowcountry to offer focused shockwave therapy. We utilize the Storz SD-1 Duolith, which is the shockwave generator used in nearly all of the positive clinical trials.

call us today to set up a consultation with dr. Kubinski at the men's center in charleston, sc & find out if focused shockwave treatment is right for you.

Life can be hard. You can be too.