Effects of Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy on Erectile Dysfunction: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Sex Med. 2017 Jan;14(1):27-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.11.001. Epub 2016 Dec 13.


Introduction: Low-intensity extracorporeal shock wave therapy (Li-ESWT) has been proposed as an effective non-invasive treatment option for erectile dysfunction (ED).

Aim: To use systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the efficacy of Li-ESWT by comparing change in erectile function as assessed by the erectile function domain of the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF-EF) in men undergoing Li-ESWT vs sham therapy for the treatment of ED.

Methods: Systematic search was conducted of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and ClinicalTrials.gov for randomized controlled trials that were published in peer-reviewed journals or presented in abstract form of Li-ESWT used for the treatment of ED from January 2010 through March 2016. Randomized controlled trials were eligible for inclusion if they were published in the peer-reviewed literature and assessed erectile function outcomes using the IIEF-EF score. Estimates were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.

Main outcome measures: Change in IIEF-EF score after treatment with Li-ESWT in patients treated with active treatment vs sham Li-ESWT probes.

Results: Data were extracted from seven trials involving 602 participants. The average age was 60.7 years and the average follow-up was 19.8 weeks. There was a statistically significant improvement in pooled change in IIEF-EF score from baseline to follow-up in men undergoing Li-ESWT vs those undergoing sham therapy (6.40 points; 95% CI = 1.78-11.02; I2 = 98.7%; P < .0001 vs 1.65 points; 95% CI = 0.92-2.39; I2 = 64.6%; P < .0001; between-group difference, P = .047). Significant between-group differences were found for total treatment shocks received by patients (P < .0001).

Conclusion: In this meta-analysis of seven randomized controlled trials, treatment of ED with Li-ESWT resulted in a significant increase in IIEF-EF scores.

Keywords: Erectile Dysfunction; Meta-Analysis; Randomized Controlled Trial; Shock Waves.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Erectile Dysfunction / therapy*
  • High-Energy Shock Waves / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Erection
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome