Many treatments have been proposed for the cure of Erectile Dysfunction with varying success rates. As early as 1874, John King, an American physician described the vacuum device. However, it was not until 1982, the U.S. Food and drug administration granted permission for its use.
The major advantage of Vacuum device is that it can be indicated in all etiologies of Erectile Dysfunction. Also it can be combined with other modalities like PDE5 inhibitors. It can be of use to stretch a shortened penis after surgery for Peyronie’s disease and to avoid penile shortening and fibrosis in patients with penile prosthesis removal.
The mechanism involves creating a vacuum with a pump after applying a hollow cylinder over the penis. The erection is sustained by applying a rubber band at the penis base. Some patients do complain that the erections look more unnatural as the penis looks slightly blue black due to the presence of venous blood and not arterial blood that makes it look red as in the case of a normal erection.
Contraindications could be history of prolonged erections/ priapisms. Side effects may be limited to bruising on the penis and sometimes petechiae. A rare hematoma may form.
Though a highly successful modality of treatment, vacuum device acceptance is low as many couples perceive the erection to be unnatural. However, it should be understood that once couples have adapted, the quality of their sex life drastically improves.