Vacuum erection devices have been shown to help patients who are impotent as a result of prostate cancer treatment. A vacuum erection device can be another option for the 30-40% of men who commonly fail with Viagra. Other candidates are men who have tried penile injection therapy or suppositories without success, or find these treatments painful or difficult to administer.
Most vacuum erection devices consist of an airtight tube, pump, and ring. The tube is placed over a lubricated penis. To activate, patients squeeze a hand held pump or trigger a battery-operated pump to create a vacuum effect drawing blood into the penis. Then a rubber or plastic ring slides off the tube and onto the base of the penis to keep blood from flowing out. To make this process more comfortable this ring comes in different sizes. When done properly an erection will last for thirty minutes, but the ring must then be removed to restore healthy blood flow.
Vacuum erection devices are generally effective, safe, and can be used as often as needed. Some side effects are possible, including reddish pinpoint-size dots on the surface of the penis when negative pressure is applied too rapidly, some bruising may occur if the penis is held under pressure too long, and a cold penis tip is common and uncomfortable, as the device and tension rings limit circulation. These conditions are not painful or serious and can be solved by not using the pump for a short period.