Men's Health

Men’s Health Questions Answered: Penile Curvature

Dane P. Johnson, MD

Men’s health topics are important to discuss with a doctor, but for many men it is difficult to have these conversations with their health care provider. Discussing sex, prostate health and hormonal imbalance can be uncomfortable, but understanding these conditions and how they affect overall health is critically important for every man.

Dane Johnson, MD, Assistant Professor of Urologic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, specializes in men’s health. Johnson sees couples for male factor infertility, helps couples achieve pregnancy through his urologic expertise and provides therapies for a range of men’s health conditions. He encourages men to ask their questions and engage in honest conversations with their doctors. To help start this conversation, Johnson answers some of the questions regarding a sensitive, but important men’s health condition: Penile Curvature.

Penile Curvature Questions Answered

What causes penile curvature?

Penises naturally vary in shape and size, and may be naturally curved. This is not necessarily a problem if it does not interfere with your sex life. More problematic curvature can be the result of scar tissue (called plaque), which forms under the skin of the penis. This plaque can form as the result of injury, whether during sex or other physical activity.

When should I see a doctor about penile curvature?

I see men in the urology clinic to address their penile curvature once it has proven to be a problem with their sex life. Many men who have slight curvature are able to enjoy their sex life without any disruption, and those men ultimately don’t need treatment. There is no harm in having a mild curvature.

However, if the penile curvature is now interfering with a man’s ability to have sex with their partner, it is time to see a men’s health specialist. We have several therapies we can use to address the curvature.

What are the therapies for penile curvature?

Therapies include traction therapy, as well as medical therapy to soften the scar tissue that causes the curvature, and certain surgical techniques to address the curvature.

Successful treatment of penile curvature is really defined by the ability to return to a normal sex life. There can be varying degrees of success, depending on the type of treatment we perform.

Traction therapy is the most mild and noninvasive treatment option for penile curvature. By putting pressure or tension along the axis of the penis, traction therapy may be able to straighten the erection over time.

Many men respond well to traction therapy. Some men who don’t respond to traction therapy may need to go on to do medical or surgical therapies.

In addition, we offer medical treatment for penile curvature, where we use a medicine to essentially dissolve the plaque causing curvature and increase elasticity and return of a straight, rigid erection.

Lastly, men who do not respond to traction or medical therapy, or who have a severe curvature that makes those two options less likely for success, can be offered surgical treatment for their penile curvature. Surgical treatment for penile curvature is considered the gold standard for success. It can result in straight, rigid erections in upwards of 95% of patients.

Why should I see a Washington University Urologist if I am considering therapy for penile curvature?

Different patients respond differently to different therapies. No one therapy is the right answer for everyone.

By seeing a urologist at Washington University, we can tailor your treatment to find the best solution to get you back on track.

For men with both ED and PC, we can offer surgery that will address both issues at the same time. By performing a penile prosthesis surgery, we can achieve a rigid erection on demand, and we can do additional therapies to achieve a straight erection with that prosthesis.

The treatment options a specialist like myself, Arnold Bullock, MD, or Gregory Murphy, MD, can provide are second to none. We will talk you through the process, make sure you are aware of your options and ultimately find the correct solution for your situation.