Diagnosing Erectile Dysfunction (cont.)
An ultrasound examination of your penis and testicles may be performed. The principle of ultrasound is similar to the sonar used on submarines. Sound waves are reflected back when they contact relatively dense structures, such as fibrous tissue or blood vessel walls. These reflected sound waves are then converted into pictures of the internal structures being studied.
In diagnosing the cause of erectile dysfunction, an ultrasound may be done on the lower abdomen, the pelvis, and the testicles, or it may be restricted to just the penis.
- A duplex ultrasound is a diagnostic technique that uses painless, high frequency sound waves to measure blood flow in structures such as the penis.
- The procedure itself is painless. It is usually performed before and after injection of a smooth muscle relaxing medication into the penis, which should significantly increase the diameter of the penile arteries.
- A duplex ultrasound is most useful in evaluating possible penile arterial disorders. Further studies of the venous drainage system as well as arterial imaging are usually recommended if vascular reconstructive surgery is anticipated.
Stephen W Leslie, MD, FACS
Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS
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