Vacuum Erection Device (VED) and Peyronie's Disease
Every now and then I am asked about the use of a VED, vacuum pump or Vacuum Erection Device to treat the curved penis of Peyronie’s disease. Many men are encouraged about a VED because their medical doctor has suggested it, or they have read something written on the Internet saying that it is a good Peyronie’s disease treatment. Some of the more outlandish ads even say a VED is a Peyronie’s cure. A Vacuum Erection Device is a clear plastic cylinder chamber that is open at one end, and is placed over the penis and held tightly against the skin of the lower abdomen. At the other end of the VED is a simple air pump that removes the air inside the cylinder once the penis is inside it. The air is removed from the chamber so that the bent penis is affected by the negative atmospheric pressure inside. As a result, the negative pressure causes more blood than normal to enter the penis and an unusually large erection develops. This grater than average enlargement is said to be able to stretch the deeper tissue of the penis and reduce the penis curvature. The effect is temporary, but impressive. A VED will give you an erection larger than you have ever had before, although it will not last more than a few hours outside the chamber, and any tissue changes that the stretching produces are equally temporary. The effects of reduced atmospheric pressure on tissue can be demonstrated by the "love kiss" or "hickey" that is created by placing the mouth over an area of skin (classically the neck), and forcefully sucking the tissue for just a short while. Within seconds the blood vessels of the area are so dilated – and often ruptured – that a bruised mark is left in the area that will last for several days. The Vacuum Erection Device does something similar to the entire penis. It dilates all the tissue, allows more blood to enter the penis for as long as it is held in place, and it can also result in ruptured blood vessels and injury to the delicate tunica albuginea. This kind of tissue reaction can be a catastrophe for someone who already has Peyronies.
VED can cause Peyronie's disease
In my time communicating with men who have Peyronie’s disease, I have found a surprisingly large percent of them who state their initial injury that resulted in their Peyronies can be traced back to use of a VED. These are the men who started out simply wanting to increase their penile dimensions, and injured themselves to the point that Peyronie’s disease developed. While there are a few men who say a VED helps them, there are many more who say it does not. The danger with a penile vacuum pump is in the overuse or abuse of such a device. The theory behind the therapeutic use of the VED is to slowly and gently stretch the scar tissue and soften it. That does not appear to happen, because the normal tissue does indeed stretch, but the Peyronie’s disease plaque tissue does not. As a result a man finds that he has a temporarily larger penis that is less able to reach a normal full erection – and it still has the same Peyronie’s disease plaque or scar, and/or curve, he had before. When a man uses a VED he will either overuse the device, taking the very real risk of injuring the penile tissue even more, or he will temporarily enlarge the penis but injure the vascular mechanism so that his erection is not as rigid as before. What he winds up with is a large soft penis that is rather ineffective in intercourse. You definitely can create an artificial erection with a pump, but there are often damaging consequences to a VED that causes men to quickly stop using it once they see all the drawbacks. Many people ask for my advice about a “penis pump.” Here is the basic problem with the VED: You and I have both definitely proven that we have penile tissue that is susceptible to injury and when injured (and even when not injured), we can develop an excess scar reaction. If you injure the penis by over-stretching, as is easy to do since there is no way to know at what point is the point of over-stretching, you will create more Peyronies plaque material. Most men will probably over use the VED just because they get excited when they see the results the device can produce temporarily. If you are prone to Peyronie’s disease anyway, this kind of tissue stretching can be a disaster. The only way you can safely use a VED is to not over use it; the problem is there is no way to know what is over use and abuse until it is too late. From my experience with countless men, my opinion is that it is simply better to avoid the temptation and pass on the Vacuum Erection Device. It can cause a lot more problems than the small and temporary change in Peyronie’s disease is worth. Send along your questions concerning Peyronie’s treatment under the “Ask Dr. Herazy…” heading, or reply to this particular article in the space below.