Penile Low Intensity Shock Wave Therapy: A Promising Novel Modality for Erectile Dysfunction
Penile extracorporeal low intensity shock wave therapy (LIST) to the penis has recently emerged as a novel and promising modality in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). LIST has angiogenic properties and stimulates neovascularization. If applied to the corpora cavernosa, LIST can improve penile blood flow and endothelial function. In a series of clinical trials, including randomized double blind sham controlled studies, LIST has been shown to have a substantial effect on penile hemodynamics and erectile function in patients with vasculogenic ED. LIST is effective in patients who are responsive to phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors (PDE5i) and can also convert PDE5i nonresponders to responders. The response to LIST wanes gradually over time, and after 2 years, about half of the patients maintain their function. Extensive research is needed to understand the effect of LIST on erectile tissue, to modify the treatment protocol to maximize its outcomes, and to identify the patients who will benefit the most from this treatment.