Penile Support Devices
Published on: September 4, 2020

What is a Penile Support Device?

According to, external penile rigidity devices are devices intended to create or maintain sufficient penile rigidity for sexual intercourse. External penile rigidity devices include vacuum pumps, constriction rings, and penile splints, which are mechanical, powered, or pneumatic devices.

See: Guidance-for-Industry-and-FDA-Staff—Class-II-Special-Controls-Guidance-Document–External-Penile-Rigidity-Devices 

Non-pharmacological and non-surgical strategies to promote sexual recovery for men with erectile dysfunction

A major concern with all ED treatments is that long-term adherence is poor (15-18). While some men may stop using an ED treatment because of natural recovery of erections, many men with persistent ED nevertheless withdraw from treatment. Failure to acquire erections firm enough for penetrative sex or partner’s disinterest are a few reasons for a patient to abandon ED treatment. Other reasons for withdrawing from ED treatments are: concerns about side effects from pharmacological agents (19-21), mechanical failure of penile implants (22,23), and inconvenience or discomfort associated with using ICI and the VED (24,25). Some men who have had penile implants need additional surgeries (23) because of dissatisfactions with surgical outcomes, infection, or mechanical problems with the prosthesis.

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Penile Support Devices 

For men with erectile dysfunction, having a satisfying sex life can be a challenge. One potential solution is an external penile prosthesis, a device that can be used by individuals who want the option of penetrating a partner without having to undergo surgery or use medications. Options include penis sleeves and penile supports.

External penile prostheses are readily available and require no medical intervention (although a consultation with a doctor or sex therapist can be beneficial). It is important to understand how the devices work and which may be most appropriate for you before making a purchase.

These include:

Vacuum pumps

Vacuum pumps consist of a cylinder and a vacuum pump which is either hand-operated or motorized. The cylinder is placed over the flaccid penis and the user applies an external vacuum to cause blood to enter the penis and produce an erection.

Constriction rings

Constriction rings are placed around the base of the erect penis for the duration of sexual intercourse to restrict venous blood flow leaving the penis. Constriction rings generally consist of loops of flexible, elastic material and a quick-release mechanism to release constriction and remove the ring. When an erection can be achieved but not maintained constriction rings can be used alone, or when creating an erection is not possible, they are used in conjunction with vacuum pumps.

Penile splints (Erectile Dysfunction Support Sleeve)

Penile splints are flexible support structures intended to be attached to or placed along the penis to hold the penis erect during sexual intercourse. Penile splints include a quick-release mechanism to enable quick removal.

The Impact of ED on the partner

It is essential to include your partner when discussing options for ED treatment and possible ED solutions. Communication about ED may be uncomfortable, however it plays a significant part to relieve unwanted stress. Resilient communication creates a strong bond within a relationship for those struggling with erectile dysfunction. With each ED treatment, those involved may experience unexpected highs and lows. It is critical to have a loving, compassionate partner to be patient and supportive through the process. Without this level of support, the male may typically feel inadequate or less of a person. The same applies for the female in the relationship. Physical connection is essential in any healthy relationship and this connection should be your end goal no matter what the obstacles involved. It is imperative to unite and agree that you are in this together and together you will find a solution.

In most cases, an oral medication, such as Viagra, Levitra or Cialis, will be recommended first. Depending on its effectiveness and your tolerance to the medication, other approaches may be tried. In patients who have blood vessel blockage or leakage, microvascular surgery may be recommended. For those who do not respond to non-surgical treatments or are not candidates for surgery, penile prosthesis is an excellent alternative.

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