While perusing the newspaper on Thanksgiving I saw a disturbing ad for a local clinic staffed by a "urologist" and offering "specialist" treatment of erectile dysfunction.  These clinics are a blight to true urologists and the local medical community.

These clinics charge a premium (several hundreds if not thousands of dollars) to "treat" erectile dysfunction.  Minimal comprehensive care is given without true attention to the root causes of of organic dysfunction.  Finally, patients are directed to use intracavernosal injections to achieve erection.  This treatment involves the direct injection of the corporal of the penis with medications to reach erection.

In reality, the approach is sound.  Many respectable urologists travel a same path to treat erectile dysfunction with their patients.  The distinction is that through approved urologists the appointment is covered by insurance (not an out-of-pocket premium), the medication is obtained through a pharmacy (where again insurance is processed), and no direct premium is assessed to the patient.

Furthermore, penile injections increase the risk of penile curvature (Peyronie's Disease), an erection that lasts more than 4 hours (Priapism), and penile pain.  These complications are not addressed by the male clinic and are shuttled to the emergency room where urologists are required to fix the mess left by these individuals.

Finally, penile injections are simply not the best option for many patients and, if these fail, may be the last path patients choose without understanding what alternatives exist.

I highly recommend all patients to discuss with their primary care doctors or their urologist about their erectile dysfunction in an open manor.  The options for therapy, and the results, can usually be obtained more simply and at less cost through this avenue.