What Are the Two Phases of Peyronie’s Disease?
Peyronie’s disease is a medical condition in which scarring develops on the penis, causing it to bend or curve during erections. It occurs in two phases: the acute phase and the chronic phase. These two phases have distinct characteristics and should be handled differently, so it is important to know how to tell one from the other.
The Acute Phase of Peyronie’s Disease
During the acute phase of Peyronie’s disease, scar tissue begins to form on the penis. This phase is characterized by painful erections and sometimes pain when the penis is flaccid. While the acute phase of Peyronie’s disease generally lasts between 6 to 12 months, in some cases it can last up to 18 months.
As the scar tissue is forming on the penis during this phase, patients will notice changes in their anatomy. The penis may begin to curve or shorten, an existing curve may become more pronounced, and/or a deformity may form (e.g., an hourglass deformity).
Surgery is not recommended as a treatment during the acute phase of Peyronie’s disease since the penis will likely continue to change. Instead, some men’s sexual health experts recommend using penile traction therapy to lessen the extent of the curvature that takes place. Every patient’s case is unique, so if you have reason to believe that you are in the acute phase of Peyronie’s disease, speak with your health care provider about which treatment options may be appropriate for you.
The Chronic Phase of Peyronie’s Disease
After 3 to 6 months without further changes to the anatomy of the penis, a patient is considered to be in the chronic phase of Peyronie’s disease. At this point, their symptoms stabilize. The curvature, length, and/or deformities of the penis remain unchanged, and penile pain subsides.
More treatment options are available for patients who are in the chronic phase of Peyronie’s disease. Traction therapy may still be recommended to help straighten the penis. Additionally, providers may prescribe vacuum erection devices, injection therapy, and in some cases, surgical correction.
There are a few different types of surgery for Peyronie’s disease. One is the plication method, which involves using a suture on the longer side of the penis to correct the curve and straighten the penis. While generally effective, this method usually results in a shortened penis.
Another surgery option is the incision and grafting method in which the surgeon makes incisions into the scar tissue to allow it to stretch out and uses other tissues or materials to cover any incisions. This option may not shorten the penis as much as a plication procedure, but it poses a greater risk for causing erectile dysfunction (ED).
Finally, patients who have both Peyronie’s disease and ED may consider getting a penile implant to improve their erectile function and correct penile curvature as necessary. A penile implant is a device that is surgically placed in the penis and that allows a person to get erections on demand by either inflating the device with a pump (inflatable penile prosthesis) or maneuvering semi-rigid rods away from the body.
- Cleveland Clinic. (2020, August 17). Peyronie’s disease. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10044-peyronies-disease#
- Mayo Clinic. (2021, November 19). Peyronie’s disease. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/peyronies-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353473