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Volume 4, Issue 1 (March 2002) 4, 61–66;

Penile venous anatomy: application to surgery for erectile disturbance

G.L. Hsu, C.H. Hsieh, H.S. Wen, T.J. Kang, H.S. Chiang

Department of Urology, Taiwan Adventist Hospital, Po-Jen General Hospital, Taipei

Advance online publication 1 March 2002


Aim: The structure of the human penile venous system has been well studied, but disappointing outcomes of penile venous surgery in certain patients have called into question on the anatomy. We planned to extend the anatomic knowledge with the ultimate goal of improving operative success. Methods: Thirty-five patients, who had undergone penile venous surgery, complained of poor erection developed gradually 6 months to 7 years postoperatively. Cavernosography was performed again during their return visit. Seven new patients underwent spongiosography followed by immediate cavernosography. Eleven male cadavers were carefully dissected. The anatomical findings were applied to venous surgery in 155 patients, who were then followed with the International Index of Erectile Function Questionnaire-5 (IIEF-5). Results: Imaging observation demonstrated that the deep dorsal vein served as a common vessel of the corpora cavernosa and corpus spongiosum. A prominent cavernosal vein was found coursing along each corpus cavernosum distally to the glans, in contrast to its reported description as a short segment at the penile hilum. All cadavers had two sets of para-arterial veins sandwiching the dorsal artery. In 148 men available for follow-up, their mean IIEF-5 score was 9.3 preoperative and increased to 22.7 after the operation. The 88.5% (131/148) of the patients believed that venous stripping was a worthy treatment modality. Five cases required sildenafil to maintain their potentia, which was not working preoperatively. Conclusions: The failure of penile venous surgery has traditionally been ascribed to penile vein regeneration. However, our finding of a long and independent cavernosal vein and an independent set of para-arterial veins may be the principal cause in patients experiencing poor postoperative results.

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