How Does a Penile Ultrasound Work?
A penile ultrasound is an imaging test that is used to get a better understanding of the anatomy of the penis, as well as the blood supply to the penis. It can be a useful tool for health care professionals who are investigating erectile difficulties in patients because it creates images of this part of the body.
Like other types of ultrasounds, a penile ultrasound emits high-frequency sound waves that are sensed as an echo as they bounce off the structures of the penis. These echoes then create images inside of the penis, revealing any scarring or deformities in the tissues and mapping the blood flow in and out of the penis.
The arteries are responsible for the inflow of blood to the penis, and the veins are responsible for the outflow of blood. If not enough blood is flowing into the penis or too much blood is flowing out of it, it can be difficult for a man to get and maintain a solid erection.
Your health care provider may recommend a penile ultrasound if they suspect your erectile difficulties are related to a vascular health issue (rather than a type of medication, relationship problems, or a mental health issue).
If you are booked for a penile ultrasound appointment and you take a blood pressure medication, it is important to take it on the day of your ultrasound. You may need to reschedule your appointment if your blood pressure is too high. No treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED) should be used on the day of your appointment, including oral ED medications or injections.
Just before your ultrasound, a health care provider will inject your penis with a medication to cause an erection. Once your erection is firm, the provider will apply an ultrasound gel to the outside of the penis, then move a small ultrasound device (probe) around the outside of the penis to capture the necessary images.
After the ultrasound is complete, you will be asked to stay at the health care center for at least half an hour until your erection goes away completely. If it does not go away during this time, you may receive an injection of a reversal medication into the shaft of the penis.
Using the images created by the ultrasound, your provider should be able to tell if the blood flow to the penis is healthy or not. They can then use this information to select an appropriate treatment option for your ED or continue with other testing.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. (2022, March 9). About Your Penile Ultrasound. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/about-your-penile-ultrasound