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J Urol. 2001 Sep;166(3):1018-23.

Prepubertal high flow priapism: incidence, diagnosis and treatment.

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  • 1Departments of Urology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.



We reviewed the literature of the last 40 years and report our experience with treating high flow priapism with fistula embolization in prepubertal boys.


Two boys had blunt perineal trauma and 1 had penile trauma (ages 6, 6 and 10 years). Painless priapism developed within 24 hours and lasted for 4 to 7 days before the patients presented to the hospital. Primary diagnosis was made on color Doppler ultrasound. When high flow priapism was diagnosed angiography of the internal iliac artery and embolization of the arteriocavernosal fistula were performed. Mean followup was 26 months.


Color Doppler ultrasound revealed bilateral arteriocavernosal fistulas in 2 boys and a unilateral fistula in 1. Angiography showed fistulas of the branches of the internal pudendal artery in 2 patients and fistulas of the bulbourethral artery in 1. Microcoils were used in the bulbourethral artery and a gelatin sponge was used in other penile arteries. Complete detumescence with restored erectile function was achieved in all cases.


High flow priapism in children can be diagnosed easily by typical clinical features combined with color Doppler ultrasound. In children with posttraumatic priapism embolization of the arteriocavernosal fistula is superior to surgical or medical procedures and should be the first line therapy. Embolization using microcoils for bulbourethral arteries and a gelatin sponge for other penile arteries has proved to be safe and successful therapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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