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Penile Doppler test

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There are many causes of erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is one of the most common problems suffered by men. ED often occurs due to a combination of many underlying factors such as blood vessel problems, nerve issues or psychological effects. The urologists may suggest a blood test to check for your sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Other blood tests may include testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), prolactin,Luteinizing Hormone (LH), etc. He may even ask for a urine test. If the results are normal, the doctor may suggest medications like Sildenafil, Tadalafil, Vardenafil. The doctor will now suggest a Penile Doppler Ultrasound test to check the response of the erectile tissues to these vasodilator medications.

Penile Doppler test was first introduced in the year 1985, is an ultrasonography procedure used to diagnose the mode of blood flow inside the penis. The basic technique is similar to any other Doppler ultrasound methods.

We shall discuss the details below:

Purpose of Penile Doppler Test

Many men experience problems associated with penile blood flow. Your doctor might suggest a penile Doppler test to test the following conditions:

  • The response of the penis to vasodilator medications
  • To establish erectile dysfunction and determine the treatment options
  • To determine whether an imbalance in arterial inflow and venous outflow is causing erectile dysfunction
  • Effect of high blood pressure and high blood sugar on penile blood flow

How is a Penile Doppler Test Conducted?

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Penile Doppler ultrasound is performed with a handheld device or the transducer. It responds to the sound waves generated from the velocity of penile blood flow and the images are obtained in the computer connected to the device. The transducer is moved over the penis by a urologist.

It is important to note that, in most cases your doctor would inject a vasodilator (prostaglandin E1 or papaverine) with a small needle to induce an erection. This will allow your doctor to evaluate the degree of erection and to assess the arterial blood flow into the penis with the help of the device.

How to prepare for the test?

Your doctor will explain the test and the reason behind using the vasodilator injection.

Let your doctor know if you are taking any medicines and supplements or have a preexisting medical problem like bleeding disorder, nerve problem, etc. The test will be determined after this initial evaluation.

You will be advised to not consume any sexual stimulants and erection pills like Cialis, Viagra and Levitra, a day before the test.

Your doctor will ask you to change your clothing with a gown. In most cases the penile Doppler test is performed in supine or lithotomy position (frog leg) to gain maximum access.

How does the test feel like?

Yes, definitely you will be feeling the prick of the needle before the ultrasound is initiated. It could be painful for some while quite normal for others. You can sense pressure in your penis when the transducer is moved.

What happens after the test?

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You might feel lightheaded for a few minutes,if you have nerve problems.

The injection might cause the erection to last after the test is over. If it doesn’t go away normally, then your doctor might inject a small dose of adrenalineto bring it back to it’s normal state.

You will be asked to avoid sexual intercourse and masturbation for a day.

The next plan of treatment will depend upon the test results.

Are there any risks associated with Penile Doppler test?

Although done with extreme caution, it carries little risk of:

  • Priapism- prolonged and painful erection for more than 4 hours
  • Pain in penis due to the injection, especially in those with nerve problems
  • Bruising and bleeding from the site of injection

You must inform your doctor immediately, if you experience the any of the above symptoms after going home.

What are the advantages of Penile Doppler test?

The Penile Doppler test has a 94 % efficiency rate. It is simple, efficient and cost effective diagnostic strategy to determine problems associated with the penis. Furthermore, being minimally invasive it is recommended by doctors.

If you have any doubts, speak to your doctor before going in for a Penile Doppler Ultrasound.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: February 28, 2015

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