The reconstructive urologists here at University of Utah Health have researched and written extensively about this problem. Because of this they have developed a great expertise and helped create one of the commonly used procedures to relieve priapism. For a consultation with one of these urological reconstructive specialists, contact our clinic.

What Is Priapism?

Priapism is defined as an erection lasting more than four hours that is not associated with sexual stimulation. It is generally classified into two types:

  1. Ischemic (no blood flow), 
  2. Non-ischemic (constant blood flow)

The first, which is the majority of cases, is considered an emergency due to the associated pain as well as to structural changes in the penis that may lead to penile scarring and severe erectile problems. Conservative management is rarely effective except in select circumstances. Interventions may include aspiration of the blood in the penis, injection of medicines to relieve the erections, or surgical procedures.

Non-ischemic priapism presents less emergent risks and may be followed conservatively. If intervention is necessary, angiographic embolization is often the best therapeutic option.

Ischemic Priapism

The causes of ischemic priapism are often unknown but may be the result of medications, neurologic disease, or blood abnormalities such as sickle cell anemia. Ischemic priapism is an emergency, since, if left alone, it can cause permanent damage to erections.

Treatment

Treatment usually starts with getting out the old blood in the penis with a needle and injecting a drug that reverses the erection. If this is not successful, various procedures are usually tried until the erection and pain are gone. If the priapism results in permanent erection problems, the patient usually requires a penile prosthesis. This is a very difficult surgery after priapism (because of scarring) and the patient should be very careful about choosing a urologist with experience for the best outcome.

Non-Ischemic Priapism

Non-ischemic priapism is usually caused by injury to the perineum, such as a straddle injury. It is not an emergency, since it does no harm to the erections. Most of the time, the erection will go away although it may take a long time (weeks or even months); if the erection does not go away, techniques are available to block the injured blood vessels to restore normal erections.

James M. Hotaling, MD, MS, FECSM

Patient Rating:

4.6

4.6 out of 5

Dr. Hotaling is a fellowship-trained urologist specializing in Male Infertility and Men’s Health. He completed his undergraduate work at Dartmouth, graduating magna cum laude with a double major in history and biophysical chemistry.  He then went to Duke for medical school and completed a 6-year residency at the University of Washington, where he t... Read More

Specialties:

Andrology, Erectile Dysfunction, Male Infertility, Men's Health, Urology, Vasectomy, Vasectomy Reversal

Locations:

South Jordan Health Center 801-587-1454
University Hospital 801-587-1454
Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine 801-587-1454

Richard A. Jones, MPAS, PA-C

Patient Rating:

4.6

4.6 out of 5

Richard is a board certified Physician Assistant. His clinical emphases include men’s health and general urology as well as clinic procedures for hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, incontinence and Peyronie’s Disease. He works closely with the physicians of the Men’s Health Clinic, including pre-operative and postoperative care. He is a member of ... Read More

Specialties:

Erectile Dysfunction, Hypogonadism- Low Testosterone, Male Incontinence, Men's Health, Peyronie's Disease, Physician Assistant, Trauma and Reconstructive Urology, Urology

Locations:

Farmington Health Center 801-587-1454
South Jordan Health Center 801-587-1454
University Hospital 801-587-1454

Sara Lenherr, MD, MS

Patient Rating:

4.7

4.7 out of 5

Dr. Lenherr is a urologist who focuses on treatment of female incontinence and management of bladder dysfunction. She received her medical degree from the University of Chicago and completed a 6-year residency in urology at the Lahey Clinic outside of Boston. She then elected to pursue two years of sub-specialty clinical training in female pelvic m... Read More

Jeremy B. Myers, MD

Patient Rating:

4.8

4.8 out of 5

Dr. Myers completed specialty training with Dr. Jack McAninch at University of California, San Fransisco. His fellowship was in trauma and urologic reconstructive surgery. In his practice, Dr. Myers treats a variety of conditions. These include conditions like urethral strictures, ureteral scarring from previous surgery or congenital development... Read More

Specialties:

Bladder Augmentation, Complications of Spinal Cord Injury, Complications of Urologic Surgery, Female Incontinence, General Urology, Mesh Erosion, Neurogenic Bladder, Pelvic Fractures and Urethral Injury, Radiation Injuries, Trauma and Reconstructive Urology, Ureteral Stricture, Urethral Stricture, Urinary Diversion, Urinary Strictures and Fistula, Urology, Vesicovaginal Fistula

Locations:

University Hospital
Urology
801-213-2700

Kelley E. Taylor, NP

Patient Rating:

4.6

4.6 out of 5

Kelley is a board-certified adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AG-ACNP). She has been with the University of Utah Department of Urology since 2014. Prior to this, her educational emphasis was adult urology. Clinical emphases include men’s health and male infertility as well as clinic procedures for hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, ... Read More

Specialties:

Erectile Dysfunction, Hypogonadism- Low Testosterone, Male Infertility, Men's Health, Nurse Practitioner, Peyronie's Disease, Urology

Locations:

Farmington Health Center 801-587-1454
South Jordan Health Center 801-587-1454
Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine 801-587-1454
University of Utah Hospital
3rd Floor, Room 3A100
50 N Medical Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
Map
Appointments
801-213-2700
Farmington Health Center 165 N. University Ave.
Farmington, UT 84025
Map
801-213-2700
South Jordan Health Center 5126 W. Daybreak Parkway
South Jordan, UT 84009
Map
801-213-2700