The “WOW” Factor

Noninvasive erectile dysfunction treatment restores sexual prowess.

C.J.* is no stranger to the dangers of prostate cancer. He watched his uncle die from the disease and saw his older brother fight it for two years before beating it. When blood tests indicated he, too, was falling victim to the disorder, C.J. became proactive.C.J. opted for ESWT when his prostate surgery resulted in ED. He and his wife are glad he did.

“It was about ten years ago when all of a sudden, the numbers on my prostate screening exams started going up,” C.J., 71, says. “Sure enough, it turned out I had prostate cancer. The next step, of course, was to discuss all the treatment options.

“We talked about radiation, but I didn’t want radiation. I’ve been a pilot all my adult life and so I’ve been subjected to a lot of high-altitude radiation. I made the decision to have robotic prostate surgery.”

Robotic prostate surgery is a minimally invasive prostate removal and cancer treatment that allows the prostate nerves that control the bladder and sexual function to be spared. As the years passed, however, C.J. wound up battling erectile dysfunction nevertheless.

He should not have been surprised. Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is more common than many think. In fact, studies show that more than half of all men will experience some form of erectile dysfunction during their lifetime.

The chances of dysfunction are even greater among men suffering from hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as men who are heavy smokers or consume large amounts of alcohol or drugs (either illicit or prescription).

ED is typically the result of circulatory impairment in the blood capillaries or urogenital areas of the penis, and for years now, medications such as VIAGRA® and CIALIS® have been the first line of defense against it.

“That was the first thing I tried,” C.J, says. “But the pills gave me headaches like crazy, and they really weren’t very effective. I was then told that I could try injections or penile implants, but I wanted nothing to do with them.

“It was then that my doctor suggested I try this sound wave therapy protocol. It was something new for erectile dysfunction, and he recommended that I go see a couple of doctors who were offering it at their practice in Jacksonville.”

Acoustic Wave Technology

The treatment C.J.’s doctor recommended is called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy, or ESWT. The practice he recommended is Alpha Medical Group, which also has offices in Palm Coast and Leesburg, and specializes in ESWT.

Using a small, handheld device, ESWT uses acoustic wave technology to deliver a series of short, painless pulsations that not only open the blood vessels in the penis but stimulate the nerve endings to enhance sensitivity and the feeling of an orgasm.

“The treatment is based on the same technology that’s used to break up gallstones,” says Scott Hollington, MD, of Alpha Medical Group. “The device transmits sound waves that break up the plaque and calcium that have built up inside the penis’ blood vessels.

“It works like a little jackhammer, except you don’t feel it because it doesn’t touch your skin. Once the plaque and calcium are broken up, you get better blood flow, and it’s that improved blood flow that leads to better, longer-lasting erections.”

In addition to providing better blood flow through existing blood vessels, ESWT also stimulates the growth of new nerve tissue, which is vital for achieving and maintaining healthy erections.

Dr. Hollington points out that it can also be used to treat Peyronie’s disease, which is what occurs when scar tissue builds up in the penis and causes an abnormal bend, or curvature, to the penis that can impede urination and/or ejaculation.

“By making certain adjustments to the machine’s settings, we are able to treat the fibrous tissue the same way we treat blood vessels and break down the scar tissue that may be causing that irregular shape,” Dr. Hollington informs.

ESWT treatments only take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete, but prior to providing any such treatment,
Dr. Hollington begins his care by performing a Doppler ultrasound exam to determine the amount of vascular compromise in the penis.

“We look for something similar to what a cardiologist looks for in the heart, which is an occlusion of seventy percent or more,” Dr. Hollington informs. “If we see that, we go ahead with the treatment. We reevaluate the blood vessels after the treatment is completed.”

ESWT calls for patients to receive two treatments per week for six weeks. Patients are then evaluated 12 weeks later and if necessary, they can be given a second, third or even fourth round of treatments.

Though most patients experience an improvement in sexual function after just one round of treatment, Dr. Hollington says many patients opt for a second round. Overall, 83 percent of all men treated with ESWT experience a reversal of their condition, the doctor notes.

Remarkable Results

C.J. is one such success story. He had his first ESWT treatment on a Friday about a year ago and was encouraged to go home that night and try to have intercourse. He called the request “a homework assignment” and says he aced the assignment.

“Not only did I have intercourse, but I got a big Wow! out of my wife,” C.J. enthuses. “She was very pleased and so was I, so I went back and continued the treatments, which we completed in March. I’ve been wowing my wife ever since.”

C.J. reports that blood flow readings taken at the beginning of the treatment indicated less than average blood flow to the penis. By the end of his first round of treatment, those blood flow readings had doubled, he says.

That prompted C.J. to go for a second round of treatment late this past summer. He says his blood flow readings have continued to improve as a result of the ESWT treatments, which he describes as relatively painless.

“They use lidocaine to numb everything, and I always ask for a double dose of lidocaine just to be sure,” C.J. says with a chuckle. “But there are no side effects from the treatment or anything like that, and it really works. Just ask my wife.”

That it worked on C.J. is an example of just how effective the treatment is. After all, prostate surgery often results in the loss of sexual function. But the combination of the surgery C.J. opted for and the ESWT treatments allowed him to regain that function.

“It was just a month or two ago that I had to go back to see my cancer doctor for a check-up, and I was asked if I was having any problems with impotency,” C.J. reveals. “I happily told them, No, that’s not a problem at all. We took care of that.”

*Patient’s name withheld at his request.
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