Vacuum Erection Device Therapy : Effective ?

Vacuum Erection Device Therapy

Vacuum Erection Device Therapy . A vacuum erection device (VED) is a mechanical device used to help men with erectile dysfunction achieve and maintain an erection. The device consists of a plastic cylinder that is placed over the penis. Air is then pumped out of the cylinder to create a vacuum around the penis, causing blood to rapidly flow into the penis. This leads to swelling and erection. Then an elastic ring is slid off the cylinder onto the base of the penis to keep the blood from flowing back out. The ring maintains the erection after releasing the vacuum and removing the cylinder.

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VEDs provide a non-invasive treatment option for men with ED to achieve erections for sexual activity without undergoing surgery or using medications. They have been used for over 30 years and are considered safe and effective when used properly.

How Vacuum Erection Devices Work

A VED uses the power of a vacuum to draw blood into the penis and induce an erection. The device consists of an acrylic cylinder with a pump attached that is used to create a vacuum inside the cylinder. The cylinder gets placed over the limp penis and pressed firmly against the body. Using the attached hand pump, air is pumped out of the cylinder to create a vacuum.

As air gets removed from the cylinder, the resulting vacuum increases, which causes the pressure outside the body to exceed the pressure inside the body. This pressure differential causes blood to rapidly rush into the corpora cavernosa, the sponge-like regions inside the penis. The influx of blood leads to swelling and rigidity of the penis. Once the penis is engorged and firm, a constriction ring gets slid down onto the base of the penis. The cylinder then gets removed while leaving the constriction ring in place to trap blood inside and maintain the erection.

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The ring acts as a tourniquet to keep blood in the penis and prevent venous outflow. It should be tight enough to maintain the erection but not so tight it causes pain or discomfort. Most men can safely wear the constriction ring for up to 30 minutes. The length and firmness of the erection depends on the strength of the vacuum and the size of the ring used.

Who Can Benefit from Using a Vacuum Erection Device

Vacuum erection devices can benefit men with varying causes and severity of erectile dysfunction (ED). This includes men with:

  • Vasculogenic ED due to atherosclerosis or nerve damage from diabetes, surgery, or trauma
  • Neurogenic ED due to spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease
  • Drug-induced ED from medications treating hypertension, depression, etc.
  • Psychogenic ED due to anxiety, stress, depression or relationship problems
  • Post-prostatectomy ED after surgical removal of the prostate gland

VED therapy is less effective in cases of severe arterial insufficiency or extensive venous leaks. It generally works better for older men with diminished erectile function than young men with very severe ED. Men need to have enough penile skin to achieve a good seal against the body.

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Advantages of VEDs include the ability to reverse ED without medications or invasive procedures. There is minimal risk with few side effects. Men can obtain prescriptions for home use from their doctors and insurance may cover some of the cost.

Using a Vacuum Erection Device

Using a VED takes some practice to understand the right pressure and technique required. Men should always read device instructions and follow recommendations for safe use. The basic process includes:

  • Lubricating the base of penis and the inside rim of the cylinder to create an airtight seal
  • Inserting the penis while in a flaccid state into the cylinder and pressing the open end firmly against the body
  • Pumping the attached hand pump to remove air from the cylinder until sufficient pressure causes an erection
  • Putting on the constriction ring at the base of the penis to sustain the erection
  • Gently breaking the seal between body and cylinder before removing

Most men need to use two hands during the process – one to hold and maintain the seal and the other to operate the pump. It may require pumping a few times to inflate and deflate to draw adequate blood flow for a satisfactory erection. It also helps to incorporate use into foreplay.

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Considerations When Using Vacuum Erection Devices

There are some important safety considerations when using a VED:

Do not leave the constriction ring in place for more than 30 minutes – Cut off blood flow for too long can cause tissue damage. Monitor the skin under the ring for discoloration. Remove immediately if penis becomes painful or cold.

Avoid using a condom with the ring in place – The condom may interfere with blood flow and proper placement.

Stop using if pain occurs – Immediately release the vacuum and/or remove ring if pain, numbness, cold sensation or bruising occurs to avoid injury.

Do not use with penile implants or piercing – May cause pain, bleeding or damage.

Patients on blood thinners may bleed or bruise more easily. Use caution and stop immediately if issues emerge. Consult doctors about any risks.

Diabetics and those susceptible to infections should check for skin wounds or irritation – The vacuum can scrape delicate skin leaving one vulnerable to bacteria entering.

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Efficacy of Vacuum Erection Devices

Studies evaluating vacuum erection devices have shown them to be 90% effective in producing erections satisfactory for intercourse. Success rates may vary depending on underlying causes, severity of ED, patient age and consistency of use.

In a study following 44 men for 6 months, 40 men achieved an erection sufficient for intercourse while using VEDs. Approximately 57% successfully engaged in intercourse at least twice a week using the device. Patient and partner satisfaction with VED treatment averaged approximately 47% over the 6 months based on personal expectations and ease of use.

VEDs appear to have long-lasting effectiveness for many men over several years. 49%–64% of men continue to utilize VEDs for intercourse at 2 years following prescribed use. 47%–51% of men have maintained successful intercourse at 4-5 years when using a VED.

Erections achieve through vacuum devices tend to be wide-based and less stiff compared to natural or drug-induced erections. Penis may pivot at base which can make penetration difficult. With practice, most men gain sufficient rigidity for intercourse by constricting blood flow at the base using a ring.

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Side Effects and Risks

Vacuum erection devices are generally safe when used properly. The risk of serious adverse effects is quite low.

Most common side effects include:

  • Pain – Mild to moderate pain can occur during use if improper pressure applied or constriction ring is too tight. Usually resolves quickly upon releasing vacuum or ring.
  • Numbness or tingling – Due to restricted blood flow from constriction ring. Typically temporary.
  • Bruising or petechiae – From suction pressure or disrupted blood vessels. Usually minor and heals quickly if ring removed.
  • Delayed ejaculation – May make orgasm harder to achieve or take longer due to hardened tissue.
  • Cold penis – Restricted blood flow may lower surface skin temperature.

Rare risks from use include:

  • Penile engorgement – If erection lasts too long with no release, tissue swelling can block blood vessels requiring medical intervention.
  • Skin ulceration or necrosis – The vacuum pressure can scrape off outer skin layers leading to open wounds vulnerable to bacteria.
  • Peyronie’s disease – Genetic predisposition to scar tissue build up causing bent erections. Excessive VED use may aggravate condition.

Despite potential issues, clinical studies estimate 94% of vacuum device users experience no adverse side effects. Less than 4% stop use due to discomfort or bruising. Proper patient education on safety and usage can minimize negative outcomes.

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Vacuum erection devices offer an external mechanical solution to achieve erections without medications or surgery. They use a constriction ring and vacuum pressure to drive blood into the penis to cause an erection. Studies indicate VEDs have up to a 90% success rate for intercourse completion when used properly. Satisfaction rates range between 47-65%. Side effects like bruising and numbness do emerge but serious risks are uncommon. VEDs provide a non-invasive erectile dysfunction treatment option for men looking to avoid pills or implants.


What is a vacuum erection device (VED) and how does it work?

A vacuum erection device, also known as a penis pump, is a tube that fits over the penis with a pump, either manual or battery-operated, to create negative pressure around the penis. This pressure increases blood flow, leading to an erection. A constriction ring placed at the base of the penis helps maintain the erection by preventing blood from flowing back out.

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Who can benefit from using a vacuum erection device?

Men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) of various causes, including diabetes, prostate surgery, or vascular disease, may find vacuum erection devices beneficial. It’s also suitable for those who prefer a non-invasive, drug-free approach to managing ED.

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How effective is VED therapy in treating erectile dysfunction?

VED therapy has shown high effectiveness rates, with many studies reporting satisfaction rates of 50-80% among users. Its success largely depends on proper use, patience, and realistic expectations.

Are there any side effects associated with using a vacuum erection device?

Yes, some users may experience minor side effects, including temporary numbness, bruising, or a cold sensation due to the constriction ring. Prolonged use of the ring (over 30 minutes) can cause tissue damage and should be avoided.

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How do you use a vacuum erection device correctly?

Using a VED involves placing the penis into the tube, pumping to create a vacuum that induces an erection, and then sliding a constriction ring onto the base of the penis to maintain the erection. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and practice several times to become proficient.

Can vacuum erection devices be used with other ED treatments?

Yes, VEDs can be used in combination with other ED treatments, such as oral medications or penile injections, under the guidance of a healthcare provider. This combination therapy can sometimes improve overall effectiveness.

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Is a prescription required to purchase a vacuum erection device?

In many cases, a prescription is not required to buy a VED, but obtaining one from a healthcare provider ensures that you receive a device that’s FDA-approved for medical use and that you’re guided on its proper use.

What is the difference between manual and battery-operated vacuum erection devices?

Manual devices require hand pumping to create the vacuum, while battery-operated devices do the pumping for you. The choice between them depends on personal preference, manual dexterity, and convenience.

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How long does it take to achieve an erection using a VED?

The time can vary, but typically, men can achieve an erection within a few minutes of pumping. Some may require more or less time depending on individual responses to the device.

Can regular use of a vacuum erection device improve natural erections?

While VED therapy does not cure erectile dysfunction, regular use can help maintain penile length and elasticity by ensuring regular blood flow to the penis, which may indirectly benefit natural erections over time.

How do you maintain and clean a vacuum erection device?

Maintenance involves washing the device with mild soap and warm water after each use, drying it completely, and storing it in a clean, dry place. Regular inspection for any signs of damage or wear is also important for safety.

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Are there any contraindications for using a vacuum erection device?

Men with certain conditions, such as severe bleeding disorders, certain forms of penile curvature, or those with penile implants, should not use a VED. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment for ED.

What should you do if the vacuum erection device causes pain or discomfort?

If the device causes pain or discomfort, stop using it immediately and consult a healthcare provider. Adjusting the size of the constriction ring or the vacuum pressure may resolve the issue.

How discreet are vacuum erection devices for personal use?

Most devices are designed with discretion in mind, being relatively quiet and easy to store. Some models come with carrying cases for even more privacy.

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Can couples incorporate a vacuum erection device into their sexual routine?

Absolutely, many couples find that incorporating a VED into their sexual routine enhances intimacy. Open communication and a positive attitude towards using the device are key.

How soon after surgery (e.g., prostate surgery) can a vacuum erection device be used?

Consultation with a healthcare provider is essential, but some men begin using a VED as part of their penile rehabilitation therapy as soon as 1-2 months after surgery to promote blood flow and aid in recovery.

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What are the long-term outcomes of using a vacuum erection device?

Long-term outcomes include improved sexual satisfaction and a potential increase in confidence and self-esteem. With proper use, VED therapy can be a sustainable option for managing erectile dysfunction.

How does the cost of a vacuum erection device compare to other ED treatments?

VEDs are a cost-effective option compared to ongoing expenses for oral medications, injections, or surgical interventions. The initial investment pays off over time, especially since the device can be used repeatedly.

Can vacuum erection devices be used for conditions other than ED?

While primarily designed for erectile dysfunction, VEDs are sometimes used for penile rehabilitation, such as after prostate surgery, or to combat penile atrophy, but always under medical advice.

Are vacuum erection devices covered by health insurance?

Coverage varies widely by insurance provider and plan. Some plans may cover the cost of a VED, especially if it’s prescribed as part of a medical treatment for ED. It’s recommended to check with your insurance provider for specific coverage details.

How do users rate their satisfaction with vacuum erection device therapy?

User satisfaction varies, but many men and their partners report high levels of satisfaction due to the non-invasive nature, ease of use, and effectiveness of VED therapy in managing erectile dysfunction. Regular use and proper technique are key factors in user satisfaction.

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