Peyronie’s Disease & Traction Devices
Penile Traction Therapy (PTT) is a relatively new therapeutic option for men with Peyronie’s Disease (PD), having previously been used to correct dental deformities, limb contractures and other conditions.
The internet is awash with websites and ads claiming that this non-invasive treatment is guaranteed to increase penile size and correct penile curvature.
The mechanical traction used in these devices usually consist of a plastic support ring, a silicone band plus two dynamic rods. It works by holding the penis in a cradle and subjecting it to gentle and progressive traction forces that can be achieved by the addition of small metal extensions to the dynamic rods and cradle frame every few weeks or even more frequently and used in combination with specialist accessories and vitamin supplements.
Rationale for the Use of Traction Devices in Peyronie’s Disease
Several studies have shown that PD shares many similarities with Dupuytren’s contracture, and it is known that the two conditions share a common issue. In Dupuytren’s contractures, continuous and prolonged mechanical tension on the diseased tissue has resulted in collagen re-modelling and tendon healing.
The value of a nonsurgical method to the deformed penis by using mechanical traction by lengthening and correcting any abnormal penile curvature is seen as a benefit for men not wishing to undergo invasive surgery. However, the concept had not been studied in the penis or in PD models until the beginning of this century.
The results of several studies have been mixed:
- In one there was a reported 33% improvement in penile curvature in 11 men with long standing PD. However, this outcome was not statistically significant due to the small sample size, so the validity of this trial is questionable.
- A study of men with a minimum of 12-months history of PD and penile curvature of less than 50 degrees, suggested that, although the use of the traction device provided minimal improvements in penile curvature, there was a reasonable level of patient satisfaction, most probably because of increased penile length. However, other studies have shown that, while there are many men who are concerned about their penile length, most men complaining of short penis have a normal sized penis.
- A trial for the treatment of men in the acute phase of PD found a decrease of just 20 degrees in the bend of the penis, a reduction in accompanying pain and an improvement on erectile function and hardness. However, 60% of these patients still had to face the possibility of invasive surgery – which we do not recommend – or live with a bent penis.
One of the disadvantages of PTT devices is that they are bulky, uncomfortable, and difficult to wear for prolonged periods. This leads to low compliance rates among men undergoing treatment and disappointment in the results of their treatment.
While the evidence for PTT is still limited in the wider world, our clinical experience has demonstrated the tremendous benefit of using PTT in combination with shockwave therapy. This is valuable for all PD patients and especially among motivated patients who will use the device regularly if suffering the acute phase of PD.
Many thanks to Restorex for allowing us to use the image of their traction device on this page.
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