Functional electromyostimulation of the corpus cavernosum penis--preliminary results of a novel therapeutic option for erectile dysfunction

World J Urol. 1995;13(4):243-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00182971.


Transcutaneous application of low-frequency electric current in the treatment of partially or temporarily denervated striated muscles is widely used to prevent or treat muscular atrophy. Due to the high regenerative capacity of smooth-muscle cells, this approach should be beneficial in the treatment of diseases with smooth-muscle degeneration due to partial denervation. Our study was done to evaluate the possible beneficial effect of transcutaneously applied low-frequency electric current on the corpus cavernosum penis in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. After a comprehensive workup, 21 patients with chronic erectile dysfunction (20/21 vasoactive nonresponders) received daily (3-5 x 20 min) transcutaneous functional electromyostimulation of the corpus cavernosum smooth muscles [FEMCC; zero-line symmetric impulses of trapezoid shape, 2-channel device with alternating stimulations; frequency (f), 10-20 Hz for channel I and 20-35 Hz for channel II; impulse duration (ti), 100-150 microseconds; approx. 12 mA; rise time, 0.5 s; stimulation time, 5 s/channel; pause between stimulations, 0.5 s. In all, 4/21 patients (19%) regained full spontaneous erections and another 3/21 (14%) responded to vasoactive drugs after FEMCC. Overall, 14/21 were FEMCC failures, including 2 who subjectively "improved." In a similar group of patients who were evaluated during the same period but received no therapy, no spontaneous improvement in erectile function was observed.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies