What is Penile Ultrasound?

What is Penile Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses ultrasound to visualize internal organs, allowing doctors to examine them more accurately.

Penile ultrasound can be used to diagnose and monitor the progress of several diseases that affect the penis, these include erectile dysfunction (ED), plaques (such as those caused by Peyronie's disease), fibrosis, tumors and even cancer.

What is a Doppler?

Men who have erection problems usually need to undergo a Doppler ultrasound. This examination makes it possible to visualize the blood flow in and out of the organs. During a Doppler ultrasound, sound waves bounce off moving red blood cells. A change in location indicates the circulation of blood.

The quality of a man's erections depends on blood circulation. When a man is sexually stimulated, the arteries in his penis expand so that blood can flow into them. This blood allows the penis to stiffen so that the man can have sex. The veins in the penis constrict to hold blood. When the man is no longer stimulated or when he ejaculates, the veins dilate again so that the blood can once again circulate inside his body.

Many men who suffer from erectile dysfunction have blood circulation problems. It is possible that their arteries do not dilate enough to let the blood flow into their penis, or that their veins do not contract enough to hold the blood inside their sex. Both of these issues can affect the quality of erections.

The penile Doppler examination begins with an injection of medication, which causes an erection by dilating the arteries and increasing blood flow. After that, the doctor moves a small device called a transducer along the skin of the penis. This sensor sends data to a computer to allow the doctor to check how fast blood is flowing in and out of the penis.

A Doppler ultrasound is a non-invasive and generally painless examination. Some men experience pain or bruising where the injection is given. It also happens that some men suffer from dizziness for several minutes. If the erection caused by the injection lasts too long, the doctor may inject another drug to end it.

Men are generally asked to avoid taking erectile dysfunction drugs (such as Viagra, Levitra or Cialis) for two days before the exam. They may also be asked not to have sex or to avoid masturbating on the day of the exam.

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