Although Viagra and the other PDE5 inhibitors that have followed it to market have revolutionized the treatment of erectile dysfunction, these medications don’t work for everybody.
Among the limited options open to men whose vascular-related ED or psychogenic impotence don’t respond to oral ED drugs, the vacuum constriction device or vacuum penile pump usually produces results when other methods fail.
How They Work?
Available in models of varying sophistication, such devices typically consist of a plastic cylinder coupled with a battery- or hand-operated pump that can remove the air from the cylinder to create a vacuum. The plastic cylinder is fitted tightly over the penis, after which the pump is activated to withdraw all air from the cylinder.
The resulting vacuum draws blood into the flaccid penis, thus creating an erection. Once the erection has been created, a constriction band at the bottom of the cylinder is slipped into place at the base of the penis to trap the blood within the penis until sexual activity is completed. The plastic cylinder is then removed so that sexual activity can take place. The constriction band should not be used for more than 30 minutes.
Who Should Use a Vacuum Device?
Ideal candidates for vacuum constriction devices include men whose ED is caused by diabetes, surgery for prostate or colon cancer, insufficient blood flow to the penis, and psychological issues, including anxiety and depression. The average cost of a pump ranges from $300 to $500, according to WebMD.com. Most health insurers, including Medicare, cover at least part of the cost of these devices, especially when the medical need has been thoroughly documented.
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