Title of article: Low-Intensity Shockwave Therapy in Urology: Is it ready for prime time?
Author: Daniel Shoskes, MD
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that uses low-intensity sound waves to treat various urological conditions. This therapy is safe and effective, with few side effects. The device used for this treatment is small and portable, and it produces painless procedures without the need for general or local anesthetic.
Shockwave therapy works by increasing blood flow to the affected area, promoting tissue remodeling, and reducing pain and inflammation. The therapy is being explored for several urological applications, including erectile dysfunction (ED) and chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS).
For ED, shockwave therapy involves treating the penis twice a week for three weeks, followed by a no-treatment interval of three weeks. Improvements in erectile function were seen in International Index of Erectile Function Questionnaire scores and in penile arterial blood flow. Unlike other on-demand ED therapies, improvement with shockwave therapy appears durable for at least one year.
In Europe, shockwave therapy is commonly used for CPPS or nonbacterial prostatitis. The therapy involves once-weekly treatments for four weeks. Efficacy was reported at 12 weeks in the first sham-controlled study. However, long-term success is variable.
Shockwave therapy is a new technology that has reasonable preliminary data and plausible mechanisms of action in erectile dysfunction and chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Ideal patient selection and treatment course are yet to be determined. Nevertheless, shockwave therapy offers a non-invasive alternative to traditional treatments for urological conditions, and it has the potential to improve the quality of life for many patients.
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