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FAQs Peyronie's Disease

Below are a list of common Peyronie’s disease FAQs. If you have a question that is not covered below then please call our friendly team or complete a make an enquiry form.

Peyronie's disease frequently asked questions

What is Peyronie's disease?

Peyronie’s disease is a condition whereby fibrous plaques (or scar tissue) develop along the shaft of the penis. The plaques can cause deformity in the penis, painful erections and difficulties with sexual intercourse. It may curve or adopt an hourglass shape when the penis is erect. The disease was named after François Gigot de la Peyronie, the French surgeon who first described it in 1743.

Treatment options include medicines taken by mouth, applied to the penis or injected into the scar tissue. Stretching, lasers and electrical treatment, and surgery are other options. In rare cases, the condition may clear up completely but most men find that it stays the same or gets worse over time.

Who gets Peyronie's disease?

Peyronie’s disease usually affects men over the age of 50, but a small number of teenagers also suffer from the disease. It is estimated that about 3-9% of men are affected by Peyronie’s disease, but the exact numbers are not known since some may be too embarrassed to bring the problem to their doctor.

The disease is also more frequent in people who have high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia, high colesterol, hypertension or other heart conditions. Peyronie’s disease can be a side effect of the anti-epileptic drug phenytoin. It is also more common in people who smoke or drink excessively.

What is the cause of Peyronie's disease?

The cause is still not known for sure but is thought that one-off or repeated damage to blood vessels cause blood to leak into areas of the penis which do not normally come into contact with blood, causing the body’s immune system to react. This results in scarring. Another theory is that it is caused by a defect in a person’s genetic make-up or that it is associated with low levels of the male hormone testosterone. There is also a rare, congenital form of the disease that affects a person from birth. Symptoms do not present however, until they reach sexual maturity.

What are the symptoms of Peyronie's disease?

People with Peyronie’s disease may suffer from:

  • Painful erections – as well as areas of thickening along the shaft of the penis.
  • Curved, angled or distorted shaft of the penis – most obvious when the penis is erect.

How is Peyronie's disease diagnosed?

In most cases the two symptoms above will be enough evidence for your doctor to diagnose Peyronie’s disease. Occasionally they may advise you to undergo a duplex ultrasound scan to show the blood circulation of the penis.

The doctor will typically want to measure the curvature or distortion of the penis whilst it is erect, which can either be assessed by photographs you have taken at home or (more accurately) by using a vacuum pump or an injection into the shaft to stimulate an erection.

What treatments are there for Peyronie's disease?

There are many non-surgical treatment options available for Peyronie’s disease but they have not proven to work for all patients. These include:

  • Medication – oral and/or topical medication.
  • Injections – medicine injected into the plaques, may improve pain, the size of the plaques and the amount of bend in the penis.
  • Stretching – or external penile traction, which involves wearing a device which stretches the penis, with the aim of improving the length of the penis and reducing the deformity.
  • Vacuum devices – these stretch the shaft by creating a vacuum around the penis.

Peyronie's disease surgery

Surgery is the only treatment guaranteed to have a beneficial effect on Peyronie’s disease. Surgery is only be offered to patients once the changes caused by the condition have settled down, which normally takes 12-18 months.

Surgery is not without risks and can include shortening of the penis and there is a chance the distortion may return. If your foreskin is already tight, you may require a circumcision as it may get even tighter after the operation. Some people report of feeling knots or stitches under the skin. You should carefully consider all these issues before consenting to surgery.

Possible surgery options include:

  • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy – vibrations from sound waves are used to break down the tough fibrous plaques. Shock waves are delivered by a device outside the body.
  • Nesbitt tuck procedure – removing some of the tissue from the side of the penis opposite the plaque. This straightens but shortens the penis.
  • Cutting out plaque – sometimes combined with the insertion of a plastic rod (prosthesis) to counteract any shortening.
  • Laser surgery – a carbon dioxide laser is used to thin the plaque.
  • Plication – folding the normal tissue on itself rather than removing it completely.

If you have a mild version of the disease which does not cause much pain, if you are not sexually active, or have few or no difficulties with sexual intercourse, you may decide that you do not want treatment. About 13% of patients recover from their symptoms without treatment.

Contact us

At the Urology Unit we specialise in Peyronie’s disease with expert world-renowned Consultants able to treat the condition. Our Consultants have many years of experience in treating Peyronie’s disease. To book an appointment with one of our specialists please call our friendly team or complete a make an enquiry form.

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Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, our private GP practice and Urgent Care Clinic, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information, get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 7432 8297.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa Health, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment, and in most cases you will also require a referral letter from your GP.

If you are not registered with a GP, we have an in-house private GP practice you can use. Alternatively, we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstances.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRIs, a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

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