Priapism in sickle cell disease: the case for early implantation of the penile prosthesis

Eur Urol. 1996;30(1):54-9. doi: 10.1159/000474145.


Objectives: Recurrent ischemic priapism in sickle cell (SS) patients often leads to impotence. Blockage of venous outflow by sickle cells leads to anoxia of the cavernosal smooth muscle with subsequent replacement of the erectile tissue with dense fibrosis. This study evaluates the efficacy of early penile prosthesis implantation in patients with priapism associated with sickle cells disease.

Methods: Our recent experience includes 6 SS patients with impotence resulting from repeated episodes of priapism and 1 SS patient who suffered penile autoamputation from prolonged tricorporeal low flow priapism. The average age was 26 years. Six patients underwent excision of fibrotic cavernosal sinusoidal tissue and placement of a malleable prosthesis. The autoamputation case was managed with a one-stage penile reconstruction using a forearm free-flap and a two-piece inflatable penile prosthesis.

Results: All patients in our series are currently potent. Because of infection, 1 patient required removal and subsequent reinsertion of his prosthesis, and another has required revision.

Conclusion: Potency in the young SS patient with recurrent episodes of ischemic priapism may best be managed by a penile prosthesis. Early implantation may lessen the psychological trauma of repeated priapisms, and reduce the technical difficulties and complications associated with penile prosthetic insertion in the presence of dense fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Erectile Dysfunction / complications
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Penile Prosthesis*
  • Priapism / etiology
  • Priapism / physiopathology
  • Priapism / surgery*
  • Sickle Cell Trait / complications*
  • Sickle Cell Trait / physiopathology
  • Sickle Cell Trait / surgery
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color