Drainage of the penis for priapism

What is this?

Deflation of the penis for a prolonged, painful erection

What alternatives are there?

Conservative treatment with compression and ice packs

What to expect before procedure

You will usually have been admitted to hospital as an emergency. Surgery is required on an urgent basis but will only be performed once you have had nothing to eat or drink for a minimum of 4 hours. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to deflate your erection using simple drugs or by asking you to run up and down a flight of stairs; this shunts the blood away from your penis to your legs. If these measures fail, however, you will need to proceed with surgery. A pre-medication will normally be prescribed by the anaesthetist 1-2 hours before the surgery; this will make you dry-mouthed and pleasantly sleepy

What happens during the procedure?

Normally, a full general anaesthetic will be used and you will be asleep throughout the procedure. In some patients, the anaesthetist may also use an epidural anaesthetic which improves or minimises pain post-operatively. Wide-bore catheters are inserted through the head of the penis to remove the clotted blood that has built up. These clots are washed out until the blood is flowing clear again. If this fails to deflate the erection, it is best simply to wait for the erection to subside in its own time. However, this means that you are unlikely to get erections again and, for this reason, we normally consider penile implants at a later stage to restore erections.

After the procedure

It is inevitable you’re your penis will be very bruised and swollen after the procedure. Any small stitches inserted into the head of the penis will dissolve by themselves and do not require removal. Once it is clear that your erection has not returned, you will be allowed home. The average hospital stay is 2 days.

Potential side effects