Peyronie's Disease (cont.)

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Surgery

Three surgical procedures for Peyronie's disease have had some success. One procedure involves removing or cutting of the plaque and attaching a patch of skin, vein, or material made from animal organs. This method may straighten the penis and restore some lost length from Peyronie's disease. However, some patients may experience numbness of the penis and loss of erectile function.

A second procedure, called plication, involves removing or pinching a piece of the tunica albuginea from the side of the penis opposite the plaque, which cancels out the bending effect. This method is less likely to cause numbness or erectile dysfunction, but it cannot restore length or girth of the penis.

A third surgical option is to implant a device that increases rigidity of the penis. In some cases, an implant alone will straighten the penis adequately. If the implant alone does not straighten the penis, implantation is combined with one of the other two surgical procedures.

Most types of surgery produce positive results. But because complications can occur, and because many of the effects of Peyronie's disease-for example, shortening of the penis-are not usually corrected by surgery, most doctors prefer to perform surgery only on the small number of men with curvature severe enough to prevent sexual intercourse.

Hope through Research

Researchers from universities and Government agencies are working to understand the causes of Peyronie's disease. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) supports a project designed to define a common process that causes fibrosis in the penis and arterial stiffness - or arteriosclerosis - throughout the body. By studying this process at a cellular and molecular level, researchers hope to develop an effective antifibrotic therapy.

Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research. For information about current studies, visit www.ClinicalTrials.gov.


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