Transient increased tumescence of the glans penis during penile erection after endovenous ablation of the great saphenous vein

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2019 May;7(3):387-391. doi: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2018.06.014. Epub 2018 Nov 23.


Objective: The primary objective of our study was to investigate the impact of endovenous ablation of the great saphenous vein (GSV) on the degree of tumescence of the glans penis during penile erection as well as on global erectile function (EF).

Methods: We included patients scheduled for one of three different methods of endoluminal treatment. Our questionnaire was composed of the EF domain of the International Index of Erectile Function, an additional question that has been validated for assessment of swelling (tumescence) of the glans penis, and a question on the use of erectogenic medication.

Results: There were 62 patients enrolled in the study. Seven patients (11%) reported a postoperative enlargement of the glans penis on penile erection compared with the subjectively assessed glans tumescence before surgery. Three patients (5%) reported an increased tumescence of the glans 1 week after surgery, and four (7.4%) different patients reported the effect 3 months after surgery. Of these seven men, three had normal EF (score ≥26) at any time. One patient had mild erectile dysfunction before the operation, with an improvement to normal EF from week 1 throughout the observation in the study (3 months).

Conclusions: This is the first prospective study that confirms an unexpected side effect of endoluminal treatment of the GSV occurring in approximately 10% of men. It might be of interest for insufficient responders to phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors with varicosis of the GSV in the future.

Keywords: Endovenous ablation; Erection; Great saphenous vein; Tumescence of the glans penis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Endovascular Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Erection*
  • Penis / blood supply*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiofrequency Ablation / adverse effects*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Sclerotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Varicose Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Varicose Veins / physiopathology
  • Varicose Veins / surgery*
  • Venous Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging
  • Venous Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Venous Insufficiency / surgery*