Shockwave Therapy FAQS
Shockwave therapy is the very latest treatment modality for patients suffering from erectile dysfunction or peyronie’s disease and is one of the few treatments options that improves natural erections and can potentially rejuvenate the erection mechanism.
Some of your Questions about Shockwave Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction:
- How does Shockwave Therapy work?
- Am I a candidate for ED Shockwave Therapy?
- What are the expected benefits of Shockwave Therapy for ED?
- What should I expect during my treatment session?
- What is the best Shockwave Therapy treatment protocol?
- Can I repeat the treatment on a regular basis?
- Are the results permanent?
- Is the Shockwave Therapy treatment itself painful?
- Will there be any pain after the treatment?
- What if there is pain experienced after the Shockwave treatment?
- What if the shockwave therapy treatment doesn’t work?
- Where are you based?
Q. How does Shockwave Therapy work?
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (EWST) works by passing painless acoustic waves, an intense but short energy wave that travels faster than the speed of sound into the tissues. Originally used to treat kidney stones in the 1970’s known as lithotripsy, using acoustic shock waves to break up the stones without the need for surgery. Clinicians soon discovered that whilst patients were being treated for kidney stones they reported that other non-related medical conditions either improved or had disappeared entirely. This, in turn, leads to the discovery that shockwaves had a healing impact on pain and chronic conditions in the musculoskeletal system. Devices were then developed to treat a range of tissue injury on all different parts of the body. Today Shockwave therapy is widely used to treat all kinds of indications from soft tissue injuries (tendinopathies) to diabetic foot ulcers to erectile dysfunction and even cellulite.
Shockwave treatment initiates a pro-inflammatory response in the tissue where the shockwaves have been applied. The body responds by increasing the blood circulation and metabolism in the impact area which in turn accelerates the body’s own healing processes.
In the specific case of Erectile Dysfunction, shockwave improves erections via two mechanisms:
- Promotes angio-genesis (development of new blood vessels) in the penis which means that the blood flow to the penis increases and hence stronger erections are achieved;
- Rejuvenation of penis smooth muscle – Most patients suffering from ED do so because the smooth muscle in their penile arteries has been damaged thus inhibiting the functioning of the so-called veno-occlusive mechanism. Shockwave therapy has been shown to induce the body to repair the smooth muscle in the penis and thus improve the function of the veno-occlusive mechanism.
Q. Am I a candidate for ED Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave therapy can help patients suffering from ED and even improve erections in men with no issues. A free pre-treatment evaluation is provided before a patient proceeds with treatment to make sure it is appropriate and also determine the optimum treatment protocol. Use our 1-minute questionnaire to see if you are a candidate for ED Shockwave Therapy.
Q. What are the expected benefits of Shockwave Therapy for ED
There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shockwave therapy for ED can help in the following ways:
- Patients with mild to moderate ED that respond well to PDE-5 inhibitors might be able to regain their natural erections and no longer need – or reduce their dependence on medication.
- Patients with moderate to severe ED that do not respond to PDE-5 medication and rely on injections or other topical treatments may become more respondent to PDE-5 medication after shockwave therapy.
- Shockwave therapy will in most cases improve the outcomes of any other treatment modality.
Q. What should I expect during my treatment session?
Each treatment session lasts around 20 minutes. When you arrive at the clinic your Shockwave Specialist will take you to the room with the shockwave machine where you will get undressed and lie on the treatment bed. The Specialist will then apply the treatment using a special probe on different parts of your penis and perineum. Most patients experience very little discomfort or pain during the session. It is important that if you do not feel comfortable you let your Specialist know if you do and the shockwave intensity will be adjusted accordingly.
Q. What is the best Shockwave Therapy treatment protocol?
Clinical trials investigating protocols vary in a number of ways (energy of the shockwaves applied, number of shockwaves, number of sessions, duration of treatment and time between sessions and the technology of the shockwave machines). We only use Storz Medical equipment which provides the most advanced shockwave technology. Storz Medical are based in Switzerland are the leaders in Shockwave technology research and equipment. Our experience and the studies so far indicate that the there is no one size fits all protocol and the number of sessions will depend on the severity of ED, the presence of other conditions and the response to treatment. At our clinic, as a minimum, we recommend 6 twenty-minute sessions over a four to six week period. 3000 shock waves administered to 3 different sites is the recommended volume per session.
Q. Can I repeat the treatment on a regular basis?
As the method seems to have a physiologic effect on the erection mechanism, repeating the treatment after a certain period of time seems logical. However, the question regarding a possible saturation effect remains unanswered and requires further investigation. Some patients come back after 12-14 months for 2-3 top up sessions, but again, this varies from patient to patient.
Q. Are the results permanent?
The biological effects of shockwave therapy are permanent and have been established on a basic science level. However, erectile dysfunction depends on the lifestyle of patients and is usually a symptom of underlying health issues which lead to ED.
Given that the treatment is relatively new, the longest period that patients have been followed up after treatment in a systematic way as part of a clinical trial was 12 months. The results of this study indicate that the treatment benefits were preserved after one year from the treatment but further studies are required to investigate the efficacy after a longer period of time.
Q. Is the Shockwave Therapy treatment itself painful?
Sometimes the treatment is a little uncomfortable, but most people can stand these few intense minutes without medication. If patients are in pain during the treatment, they are to notify the Specialist as there are some adjustments that can be made to reduce the discomfort.
Q. Will there be any pain after the treatment?
Normally patients experience mild discomfort or none at all immediately after the treatment, but a mild and diffused pain may occur a few hours later. This dull pain can last for a day or so.
Q. What if there is pain experienced after the Shockwave treatment?
Shockwave therapy treatment initiates a pro-flammatory response in the tissue that is being treated. If necessary patients may use ordinary prescription-free painkillers. Do not use anti-inflammatory medication or ice in the treated area as both may interfere with the body’s self-healing abilities.
Q. What if the shockwave therapy treatment doesn’t work?
Usually, the response to shockwave therapy treatment is good however it may take several months before the maximum effect is achieved. If after 3-4 months the patient still does not experience a pronounced improvement, then other treatment modalities will need to be considered.
Q. Where are you based?
We are based in Edinburgh, the Capital of Scotland. With excellent transport links via road, rail or air, we are ideally suited to provide treatment for Erectile Dysfunction in Scotland and beyond.