Peyronie’s Disease is a condition in which scar tissue, known as plaque, forms inside the penis. The scar tissue causes curvature of the penis, which results in painful erections and difficulty having sexual intercourse.
Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease
The main symptom of Peyronie’s disease is curvature of the penis. Other symptoms may include erectile dysfunction, shortening of the penis, an area of hard tissue or a lump in the penis, and pain during an erection (and/or painful intercourse).
Causes of Peyronie’s Disease
It is unclear what causes Peyronie’s disease. Some researchers believe it is a genetic disorder; others believe it is an autoimmune disorder. One common theory is that it is a result of a previous injury that caused internal bleeding in the penis. Even if the injury was not traumatic enough to have caused a great deal of pain, scar tissue built up in the tissue as it healed. During an erection, when the penis stretches, the scar tissue doesn’t stretch with it, causing the penis to curve.
Peyronie’s Disease Diagnosis
Peyronie’s disease can often be diagnosed during a physical exam. You will also be asked some questions about any previous injuries to your groin area. During your physical exam, the doctor will need to feel your penis for scar tissue. It may be necessary for the doctor to examine your penis when it is limp, and again when it is erect.
Other methods for diagnosing Peyronie’s disease may include ultrasound (a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to transmit pictures of the inside of your penis to a computer screen) or x-rays.
Treatment for Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s disease will often resolve on its own, although it could take up to two years. In cases where there is minimal pain involved, no treatment may be necessary.
In severe cases, treatment for Peyronie’s disease may include penile injections or surgery.
Penile Injections for Peyronie’s Disease
Penile injections are used to break down scar tissue. The medications are injected directly into your penis. You will probably need multiple injections over several months.
Surgery for Peyronie’s Disease
There are three types of surgery for Peyronie’s disease:
- Surgery to lengthen the side with the scar tissue: During this type of surgery, the scar tissue is cut, which allows the tissue to stretch. If any of the scar tissue needs to be removed, a piece of tissue from another part of your body (or from an animal) will be sewn into its place.
- Surgery to shorten the side without the scar tissue: During this type of surgery, tissue is removed from the unaffected side so that both sides will be the same length when the penis is erect; however, this type of procedure will shorten the length of your penis.
- Penile implant surgery: During this type of surgery, some of the scar tissue is removed and a rigid or an inflatable implant is placed inside your penis. Penile implant surgery is normally done on men who have both Peyronie’s disease and erectile dysfunction.
For more information on Peyronie’s disease, contact Leroy Jones, MD, urology specialist of San Antonio.