Peyronie’s disease is a condition where scar tissue or fibrous lumps (plaque) build up in the tissue of the penis. This can result in a deformity of the penis when it is erect because the abnormal tissue causes a curvature. This can be quite painful.
It is more common in older men, affecting roughly 3% of men aged 30 to 80. It can be difficult to treat, and the underlying cause often not known.
The penis consists of three main parts. The bottom section contains the urethra. The upper section contains two cylindrical chambers, the corpora cavernosa, which is the penis’ erectile tissue. These are surrounded by a layer of tissue, the tunica albuginea.
Peyronie’s disease is when abnormal tissue forms in the tunica albuginea, usually on the upper side of the penis, but not always. In more serious cases, it can invade the corpora cavernosa, too, making an erection difficult and painful.
The exact cause of Peyronie’s disease is not fully understood. However, there are some risk factors and suspected causes. These include:
• Acute trauma to the penis that results in the tunica albuginea rupturing.
• Multiple ‘micro-traumas over time that cause scar tissue to form in the tunica albuginea.
• Infection of the tissue in the penis.
• A hereditary abnormality in the genes that regulate the growth of collagen in the penis.
• An autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks cells, causing plaque to build up.
Diagnosis of Peyronie’s disease will usually entail examining the penis and questions about your medical and sexual history. An ultrasound may also be required.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. In some cases, the tissue will go away by itself. Some medications can help, such as anti-inflammatory drugs. A collagenase injection into the tissue can help to soften it.
A penile traction device can be used to stretch the penis and reduce the curve. In some cases, surgery may be required. This may involve placing sutures in the penis to straighten it, penile implants, or grafting the plaque.
Dr Arianayagam is an experienced urologist and specialist urological surgeon based in Sydney. He works from his urology clinic in Bella Vista and at both public and private hospitals across Sydney and treats all kinds of prostate conditions.
If you have any questions about erectile dysfunction or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to call. We will always provide our patients with compassionate care and advice.
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