Peyronie's is a condition marked by penile curvature, indentation and loss of penile length (with or without pain) upon erection. These conditions can appear in men of all ages but Peyronie’s is most common among men in their 50s. Unfortunately, Peyronie’s tends to be under-reported because many men ignore or deny the condition, but it is estimated that 9 percent to 12 percent of men over the age of 50 experience some form of the disease.
The cause of Peyronie's disease is not well understood. In most cases, the disease is a result of inflammation and plaque formation after repeated trauma to the penis, most commonly occurring during sexual intercourse. The plaque formation is a thick, inelastic scar that can create curvature of the penis upwards, downwards or sideways.
Symptoms may develop slowly or appear overnight:
- Reduced flexibility of the penis, resulting in pain
- A penis that bends or arcs during erection
- Erectile dysfunction
Occasionally, milder forms of the disease will occur and then resolve spontaneously, without causing problems.
Your physician will perform a compete examination, during which he can feel the hardened tissue (sometimes it is necessary to do the exam with the penis erect).
Treatment of Peyronie’s disease is based on a number of factors including the degree of penile curvature, severity of penile shortening, the presence of penile narrowing, and whether erectile dysfunction is present. Sometimes we advise the patient delay treatment since the condition can resolve itself. Common treatments include:
- Verapamil injections: In this ongoing treatment, the physician injects verapamil directly into the scar tissue through a very small needle.
- Extenders: The physician may stretch the penis with vacuum devices.
- Shortening the long (unaffected) side: In less severe cases of Peyronie’s disease, the physician may perform surgery to shorten the longer side of the penis, creating equal lengths on both sides.
- Allograft: In more severe cases, the scar tissue can be cut or partially removed on the shorter (affected) side of the penis. This area is then covered with a natural graft material.
- Penile prosthesis: In this surgery, the physician implants a bendable or inflatable device into the penis, followed by penile straightening.
For more information on Peyronie's Disease visit WebMD's Peyronie's Disease section in the Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.