Cavernosal arterial anatomic variations and its effect on penile hemodynamic status

Eur J Ultrasound. 2001 Dec;14(2-3):141-8. doi: 10.1016/s0929-8266(01)00155-0.


Objective: With continuous improvements in ultrasound technology, small vessels with remarkably slow blood flow that may not be assessed by color Doppler ultrasonography, can be evaluated using power Doppler ultrasonography. In the present study, penile arterial anatomic variations were determined with power Doppler ultrasonography and its impact on penile hemodynamic status.

Methods: A total of 54 patients with erectile dysfunction were evaluated with power Doppler ultrasonography. The effects of vascular anatomic variations and the structure of the corpora cavernosa and tunica albuginea on vascular status were assessed on both sides.

Results: A normal penile vascular system was observed in 35.2% and 25% of 54 patients (mean age: 46.6+/-11.5 years) at the radix and mid-shaft of the penis, respectively. Pure arterial component was observed in 40.7% (22/54) and 47.2% (17/36) of the patients at the base and mid-shaft of the penis, respectively. Penile arterial insufficiency was severe in 9.2 and 5.5% of the patients at the base and mid-shaft of the penis, respectively, whereas intrapenile truncus was found in six patients (5.5%), the ratio of single cavernosal artery, intrapenile and extrapenile bifurcations were 69.4, 7.4 and 12.0%, respectively. Twenty (18.5%) dorso-cavernosal perforators, 15 (13.9%) cavernoso-dorsal and 30 (27.8%) intercavernosal branches were found. Peak systolic blood flow velocity values were decreased in 12 of 36 patients (33.3%) distally, while increased blood flow was observed in 11 (30.5%).

Conclusions: Hemodynamic parameters might be variable at either side of the penis and depend on intrapenile arterial anatomic variations. Parameters determined using power Doppler ultrasonography should be evaluated from the proximal to distal side of the penis to obtain reliable and standard results. However, variations of penile arterial anatomy and its effect on penile hemodynamic changes should not be overlooked especially in the patients who are candidates for penile reconstructive or vascular surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arteries / anatomy & histology
  • Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Arteries / physiology
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Humans
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / diagnostic imaging
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / pathology
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penis / blood supply*
  • Penis / physiology
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods*