What is penile fibrosis?
Penile fibrosis is the formation of a scar on the surface of the penis. This results in a loss of elasticity of the penis and, as a consequence, Peyronie's disease. It’s more common in men above the age of 50 but it can appear at any age. It causes pain and in many cases, makes sexual intercourse impossible.
Penile fibrosis is not life-threatening but it significantly affects patients’ quality of life. With the right treatment, anyone with penile fibrosis can live a normal life.
Symptoms of penile fibrosis
The main symptoms of fibrosis in the penis are:
- Pain during an erection
- Curvature or deformation in the penis
- A loss of elasticity
- A fibrous nodule
- Erectile dysfunction
Medical tests to diagnose it
To reach the diagnosis of penile fibrosis, a specialist will examine the penis to evaluate inflammation, fibrous tissue, penile curvature and penis length. They will also note the patient’s medical history.
If examination and medical history don’t provide conclusive results, diagnostic imaging tests such as asMRI, ultrasound or radiography might be required.
What are the causes?
Although penile fibrosis is related to Peyronie's disease, the exact cause of this disease is unknown. The most common factor that causes penile fibrosis is trauma to the penis, for example, an injury to the penis while it is erect.
Some risk factors have been identified:
- Vascular problems
- Reaction to certain drugs
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
Can it be prevented?
As the cause isn’t entirely understood, there is no known way to completely prevent penile fibrosis.
Treatment for penile fibrosis
In the beginning stages of penile fibrosis, the treatment is pharmacological. But if the disease has progressed into a chronic phase and the severity of the penile curvature has become severe, surgical intervention might be necessary to avoid future complications.
There are different surgical approaches to penile fibrosis and the best one will depend on the patient. Options include straightening the penis without removing the fibrous plate, removing the fibrous tissue and in cases where the curvature has affected the ability to have erections, a specialist may need to perform a more invasive intervention with a penis implant
Which specialist treats it?
The specialists who treat penile fibrosis are urologists.