The word priapism is derived from the name of Dionysus and Aphrodite’s son Priapus, the Greek god of fertility, who was characterized as having an overzealous phallus. Priapism is a persistent and painful erection of the penis, not associated with sexual excitement and not subsiding after ejaculation. Priapism may either start de novo, follow a prolonged nocturnal erection, or occur after intercourse. Exactly how long an erection persists before it is considered priapism is not clear. Erections of more than 6 hours’ duration have been considered priapism because blood gas studies show evidence of ischemia and acidosis after 4 to 6 hours and, therefore, potential damage may occur.1,2


Corpus Cavernosum Tunica Albuginea Corpus Spongiosum Emissary Vein Internal Pudendal Artery 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farhad Parivar
  • Tom F. Lue

There are no affiliations available

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