Tunical Outer Layer Plays an Essential Role in Penile Veno-occlusive Mechanism Evidenced from Electrocautery Effects to the Corpora Cavernosa in Defrosted Human Cadavers

Urology. 2015 Dec;86(6):1129-35. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2015.07.054. Epub 2015 Sep 30.


Objective: To determine the exact anatomical structure for establishing penile veno-occlusive function, we sought to conduct a hemodynamic study on defrosted human cadavers.

Materials and methods: Thirteen penises were used for this experiment, and 11 intact penises were allocated into the electrocautery group (EG, n = 6) and the ligation group (LG, n = 5). A circumcision was made on the penis to access the veins. Two #19 scalp needles were fixed in the 3 and 9 o'clock positions in the distal penis for colloid infusion and intracavernous pressure (ICP) monitoring, respectively. For the EG, the deep dorsal vein and cavernosal vein trunks were freed for 3-5 cm where at least 3 emissary veins were identified via opening Buck's fascia; these veins underwent electrocautery at 45 watts, while the ICP was maintained at 0, 50, 75, 100, 125, and 150 mmHg, respectively. For control, venous ligation was made but at the ICP of 150 mmHg. A tissue block including the emissary vein was then obtained for histological analysis.

Results: Except all in the EG and those whose ICP exceed 125 mmHg in the EG, the sinusoids of the corpora cavernosa sustained varied fulgurated fibrosis in every specimen and the severity appeared reversely commensurate with the ICP regarding sinusoidal clumping and darkish bands (P <.02 and .01 respectively).

Conclusion: We conclude that the tunica albuginea can prevent the electrocautery damage to intracavernous sinusoids once the ICP reached a level corresponding to a rigid erection. The outer tunica plays an essential role in fulfilling the veno-occlusive mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cadaver
  • Electrocoagulation
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Erection / physiology*
  • Penis / blood supply*
  • Pressure
  • Veins / anatomy & histology
  • Veins / physiology
  • Veins / surgery*