March 6th, 2015
Peyronie’s disease is a curvature abnormality of the male penis that is marked by a multitude of disturbing symptoms such as; curvature deficits, painful penile spasms, erectile dysfunction and a reduction in the overall size of the penis.
Several pharmacological and invasive procedures are available to manage the symptoms of this condition; however, conservative remedies such as traction devices are considered superior owing to minimal risk of adverse effects and long term disabilities.
Penis elongating devices (also known as penile traction devices) constitutes of a plastic ring (that fits at the base of the penis) and two metal rods that holds the ring in place via adjustable fitting. The aim of this arrangement is to maintain optimal traction of the penile shaft in order to build adequate pressure outwards, for meaningful support.
It is imperative to keep in mind that the intensity of the applied traction is mild to allow the elongation of penile tissue as a result of high rate of production and deposition of tissue matrix to ensure optimal remodelling of penile muscular components
The rationale behind the use of traction devices in the management of Peyronie’s disease is the fact that persistent force over the curved, deformed pat of the penile shaft can help in the activation of remodelling and reconstruction mechanisms to restore normal anatomy and physiology.
Research and clinical data indicates that controlled use of traction devices help in the growth of penile tissue (both in transverse as well as linear fashion). It is indeed the cheapest and most effective remedy that helps in reversing the curvature abnormalities without aggravating the risk of adverse effects. Most importantly, the patient satisfaction scores and compliance rate is also excellent with traction devices; since individuals are not required to go through embarrassing physical examinations and long hours of waiting at doctor’s office. The economic cost of therapy is lower with no heavy consultation charges and cumbersome cost of expensive medications.
Although these devices are designed to augment the girth of the penis but elongation of linear penile shaft is the mainstay of intervention goal. The added benefit of improvement in girth is considered a good combination for most users. After all, thick and long penis is a blessing for many especially in a complicated Peyronie’s disease in which penile shortening is a chief complaint.
Experts believe that traction is an excellent modality of care in individuals with mild disease such as curvature abnormality of no more than 50 degrees, with minimal ED and otherwise stable disease. The quality of results can be enhanced by:
The biggest drawback of this treatment modality is long term usage and strict adherence to the treatment and usage plan. The frequency and duration of traction greatly determines the quality of results.
For example, according to a new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine (3), investigators reported that an improvement in the curvature of penis (from 31 degrees to 27 degrees) was observed in patients who used traction devices for at least 5 hours/ day over a period of 6 months. In addition, a mean improvement of 0.83 cm in the length of flaccid penis and an increase of 1.3 cm in the length of extended/ erected penis was also observed in the 15 subjects who used traction for 6 months. Investigators also reported that the results were maintained at 12-month follow-up visit; suggesting long term efficacy of traction.
However, nonetheless application of an apparent penile extenders is an awkward situation and most men would like to avoid it especially those who are involved in physical work. In such cases, use of penile extenders should be combined with vacuum devices. Individuals can wear traction devices in the evening or on weekends and holidays while relying on vacuum device at other times.
Based on clinical data, most penile traction devices are mostly well tolerated but the safety and long term benefits are mainly dependent upon the individual’s use and compliance to instructions. After applying the device, it should be taken out after maximum of two hours. Most frequently reported adverse effects with poorly regulated use are itching and soreness of the head of the penis.