Priapism: New concepts in the pathophysiology and new treatment strategies
- Cite this article as:
- Bivalacqua, T.J. & Burnett, A.L. Curr Urol Rep (2006) 7: 497. doi:10.1007/s11934-006-0061-6
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Priapism is defined as prolonged and persistent erection of the penis without sexual stimulation. This is a poorly understood disease process, and we have little information on the etiology and pathophysiology of this erectile disorder. Two main types of priapism exist: low-flow (ischemic) and high-flow (nonischemic) priapism. When the physician first diagnoses which type of priapism exists, distinguishing the type of priapic event is paramount in order to choose the correct treatment options. Until recently, we had not sufficiently understood the pathogenesis of this erectile disorder and therefore, could not effectively manage its pathologic consequences of erectile tissue damage and erectile dysfunction. In this review, the proposed pathogenesis of ischemic priapism is reviewed, and a survey regarding novel treatment modalities is given.