Send to

Choose Destination
Prog Urol. 1997 Jun;7(3):433-41.

[Medical treatment of venous priapism apropos of 46 cases: puncture, pharmacologic detumescence or penile cooling?].

[Article in French]

Author information

Service d'Urologie-Andrologie, CHG de Chambéry, France.



To analyse the efficacy of three nonspecific medical approaches to the first-line treatment of priapism : a) intracavernous injection (ICI) of alpha-adrenergic agonists, b) cavernous puncture, c) penile cutaneous cooling.


46 cases of venous priapism, due to various aetiologies, were initially treated by ICI of alpha-adrenergic agonists (23 cases), puncture (14 cases) or cooling (9 cases). These 3 methods were combined only in the case of failure and not uniformly, based on our experience. The results were analysed in terms of successful detumescence and preservation of erectile function.


Detumescence was obtained and erectile function was preserved in almost 80% of cases, with conservative treatment alone. ICI (83%) and cooling (78%) were more effective as first-line treatment than puncture (57%). The delay to treatment was a more important parameter than the aetiology. Cooling was no longer effective after the 8th hour, puncture was no longer effective after the 9th hour and ICI was no longer effective after the 34th hour. Failures of conservative treatment and erectile sequelae were only observed in cases of priapism treated after the 24th hour.


The 3 methods have a similar degree of efficacy, provided they are performed early. Their indication depends on : 1) the duration of priapism, 2) the presence or absence of cavernosal anoxia. Schematically (and in parallel with aetiological treatment when possible) : a) in the case of painless priapism < 12 hours, cooling can be tried first, b) in the case of failure or painless priapism > 12, but < 24 hours, ICI of alpha-adrenergic agonists associated with puncture is indicated (except in the case of contraindications to ICI), c) in the case of painful priapism or > 24 hours, puncture must be the first treatment. In the case of failure, cavernosal blood gases should be performed to evaluate cavernosal anoxia and to guide management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center