Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor might recommend a wait-and-see (watchful waiting) approach if:

  • The curvature of your penis isn't severe and is no longer worsening
  • You can still have sex without pain
  • Pain during erections is mild
  • You have good erectile function

If your symptoms are severe or are worsening over time, your doctor might recommend medication or surgery.

Medication

A number of oral medications have been tried to treat Peyronie's disease, but they have not been shown to be effective consistently and are not as effective as surgery.

In some cases, drugs injected directly into the penis might reduce curvature and pain associated with Peyronie's disease. Depending on the therapy, you might be given a local anesthetic to prevent pain during the injections.

If you have one of these treatments, you'll likely receive multiple injections over several months. Evidence on the effectiveness of penile injections is limited.

Medications that are used include:

  • Verapamil. This is a drug normally used to treat high blood pressure. It appears to disrupt the production of collagen, a protein that might be a key factor in the formation of Peyronie's disease scar tissue.

    Currently, there are no placebo-controlled studies which have shown benefit of verapamil injected into the penile plaque.

  • Interferon. This is a type of protein that appears to disrupt the production of fibrous tissue and help break it down. One placebo-controlled trial has demonstrated significant improvements using this therapy over placebo.
  • Collagenase. The FDA recently approved collagenase clostridium histolyticum (Xiaflex) for treating Peyronie's disease. This medicine has been approved for use in adult men with moderate to severe curvatures and a palpable nodule.

    This therapy has been shown in several trials to improve curvature and bother associated with Peyronie's disease in a percentage of patients. The treatment works by breaking down the buildup of collagen that causes penile curvature.

Surgery

Your doctor might suggest surgery if the deformity of your penis is severe, sufficiently bothersome, or prevents you from having sex. Surgery usually isn't recommended until the curvature of your penis stops increasing.

Common surgical methods include:

  • Suturing (plicating) the unaffected side. A variety of procedures can be used to suture (plicate) the longer side of the penis (the side without scar tissue). This results in a straightening of the penis, although this is often limited to less severe curvatures and might result in greater actual or perceived penile shortening.

    Nesbit plication is an example of this type of procedure. In some cases, this type of surgery causes erectile dysfunction.

  • Incision or excision and grafting. With this type of surgery, the surgeon makes one or more cuts in the scar tissue, allowing the sheath to stretch out and the penis to straighten. The surgeon might remove some of the scar tissue.

    A piece of tissue (graft) is often sewn into place to cover the holes in the tunica albuginea. The graft might be tissue from your own body, human or animal tissue, or a synthetic material.

    This procedure is generally used in cases of more severe curvature or deformity, such as indentations or deformities. This procedure is associated with greater risks of worsening erectile function when compared to the plication procedures.

  • Penile implants. Surgically inserted penile implants replace the spongy tissue that fills with blood during an erection. The implants might be semirigid — manually bent down most of the time and bent upward for sexual intercourse.

    Another type of implant is inflated with a pump implanted in the scrotum. Penile implants might be considered if you have both Peyronie's disease and erectile dysfunction.

    When the implants are put in place, the surgeon might perform additional procedures to improve the curvature if needed.

The type of surgery used will depend on your condition. Your doctor will consider the location of scar tissue, the severity of your symptoms and other factors. If you're uncircumcised, your doctor might recommend a circumcision during surgery.

Depending on the type of surgery you have, you might be able to go home from the hospital the same day or you might need to stay overnight. Your surgeon will advise you on how long you should wait before going back to work — in most cases, a few days. After surgery for Peyronie's disease, you'll need to wait four to eight weeks before sexual activity.

Other treatments

A technique known as iontophoresis uses an electric current to administer a combination of verapamil and a steroid noninvasively through the skin. Available research has shown conflicting results on penile curvature and erectile function.

Several nondrug treatments for Peyronie's are being investigated, but evidence is limited on how well they work and possible side effects. These include using intense sound waves to break up scar tissue (shock wave therapy), devices to stretch the penis (penile traction therapy) and stem cell therapies.

Jul. 19, 2014

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