Arteriosclerosis of penile arteries: histological findings and their significance in the treatment of erectile dysfunction

Urol Int. 2002;68(4):261-4. doi: 10.1159/000058447.


Objectives: In this pathomorphological study, location, distribution, and degree of arteriosclerotic stenoses in penile arteries from unselected cadavers are investigated. The findings are discussed in the context of penile revascularization and may explain the poor results of this form of surgery in older patients with general arteriosclerosis.

Materials and methods: 120 penile specimens from 120 cadavers were examined histologically after van Gieson staining. Transverse sections were performed at the level of the pubic bone, in the middle of the penis, and at the sulcus coronarius. At these levels the dorsal and deep penile arteries were examined.

Results: We found arteriosclerotic stenoses of the penile arteries in 65% of the specimens. Of these stenotic lesions, 20.4% were situated proximally, 37.1% centrally, and 42.5% distally.

Conclusions: In patients with arteriosclerotic stenoses of the penile arteries, microsurgical penile revascularization to the proximal part of the dorsal arteries at the base of the penis seems to be without any relevant long-lasting hemodynamic effect, because the blood flow will be impeded by the peripheral stenoses. This can explain the poor results of revascularization in this group of patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arteries / pathology
  • Arteriosclerosis / pathology*
  • Cadaver
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy
  • Erectile Dysfunction / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penis / blood supply*
  • Penis / pathology*