Shockwave therapy is one of the many treatment options for erectile dysfunction (ED). Though it isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the science behind this pill-free treatment has been supported by several
Shockwave therapy appears to work best for those with vasculogenic ED, which is a blood vessel disorder that affects blood flow to the tissue in the penis. The therapy’s effectiveness with other causes of ED remains to be seen.
The clinical term for shockwave therapy is low intensity shockwave therapy (LiSWT). It’s a noninvasive therapy that’s been used in orthopedics for years to help heal broken bones, injured ligaments, and injured tendons.
LiSWT has also been used to improve wound healing. Using targeted high-energy sound waves, LiSWT can speed up tissue repair and cell growth.
Erections rely on healthy blood flow to the penile tissue. Shockwave therapy is viewed favorably as a way of repairing and strengthening blood vessels in the penis and improving blood flow.
Increasing blood flow to the penis is the same goal as more traditional ED treatments, such as oral medications, including sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis).
(Video) Shockwave Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction - How Does it Work?
Shockwave therapy is administered with a wand-like device placed near different areas of the penis. A healthcare professional moves the device along parts of your penis for about 15 minutes while it emits gentle pulses. No anesthesia is needed.
The pulses trigger improved blood flow and tissue remodeling in the penis. Both of these changes can lead to erections sufficient for sex.
There’s currently no established recommendation for treatment period or frequency.
The analysis found that the effects of shockwave therapy lasted about a year.
As with other types of off-label medical devices, it’s not yet clear who best qualifies for shockwave therapy. In theory, anyone experiencing chronic ED could be a candidate, though current research states it may work best for vasculogenic ED.
However, studies on this end are mixed. A
The best way to determine whether you’re a candidate for this ED treatment is to talk with your doctor about your situation, especially if you haven’t had success with other therapies.
(Video) Shockwave therapy for Erectile Dysfunction | Erectile Dysfunction Treatment | ED | ED Treatment
The same 2019 review and meta-analysis found that erectile function significantly improved with shockwave therapy. Results were best among men with vasculogenic ED.
A 2010 pilot study found that among 20 men with vasculogenic ED, all experienced improved erectile function after 6 months of shockwave treatment. Follow-up with the men found no adverse effects.
Despite this encouraging research, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved shockwave therapy as a treatment for ED. Some doctors may still offer shockwave therapy for ED, but use outside of a research setting is considered off-label.
FDA approvals for new treatments are always accompanied by guidelines for doctors to follow and side effects to be shared with patients.
As with any unapproved treatment, if you choose to do shockwave therapy for ED, there may be risks that aren’t properly explained, or you may be spending money on a treatment that doesn’t live up to its promises.
Additionally, treatments that haven’t been approved by the FDA usually aren’t covered by insurance.
According to a statement from the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA), there isn’t enough “robust clinical trial data” to support the widespread clinical use of shockwave therapy. The SMSNA recommends that shockwave therapy only be done under strict research protocols.
Shockwave therapy is painless for most men. And as previously stated, available research has found few, if any, side effects.
However, that doesn’t mean that the procedure is safe. It’s still a relatively new therapy, and more research needs to be done to determine side effects, complications, and long-term effectiveness.
Occasional episodes of ED are normal. Stress, lack of sleep, alcohol use, or temporary hormonal changes, among other factors, can make it difficult to maintain an erection. However, if ED becomes more frequent and is affecting your sex life, see your doctor.
If you’re interested in shockwave therapy, know that it’s still an experimental therapy. Some doctors don’t want to use it until further research confirms its safety and effectiveness.
Still, if you’re looking for a pill-free treatment and aren’t interested in invasive procedures, talk with your urologist about shockwave therapy and where such a treatment may be available in your area.
Keep in mind that your doctor may also recommend that you try a more commonly used treatment first. Common treatments for ED include:
- Medications. These include sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis).
- Lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, changing your diet, and getting enough exercise may help combat ED.
- Counseling. If psychological issues, such as anxiety, stress, or relationship problems, are causing ED, talking with a therapist or counselor may help.
- Treating underlying health conditions. Health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes can contribute to ED.
Since shockwave therapy is considered an off-label, non-FDA-approved ED treatment, medical insurance likely won’t cover this procedure. The exact costs may vary by provider and location, with an average of $450 per session.
Thus, if a doctor recommends a twice-weekly regimen for 3 weeks at a time, the costs may potentially add up to around $2,700.
However, you may be able to work with your provider for ways to help reduce the cost of your treatment. Possible options include discounted bundle rates or monthly payment plans.
How can I schedule a shockwave therapy visit?
If you’re interested in scheduling a shockwave therapy visit, consider meeting with a urologist who performs the procedure, asking your primary doctor for a referral, or looking for a reputable specialist in your area via the American Urological Association. Be wary of any unlicensed clinician that offers “discounted” sessions or any other clinics that may lack the proper credentials.
Does shockwave therapy hurt?
While ED shockwave therapy is reportedly risk-free, there isn’t enough clinical research in this area to determine this to be the case.
What is the success rate for shockwave therapy for ED?
While the exact success rate is unknown,
The desire for an erectile dysfunction treatment that works consistently and over a long period is fueling research around the world.
Shockwave therapy has proven to be effective in treating some medical conditions. While it isn’t currently an FDA-approved treatment for ED, some doctors use it off-label for ED.
If you’re interested in getting shockwave therapy, talk with a doctor first. They can help you decide if this might be an option for you and possibly direct you to a reputable provider.
Clinical studies have generally shown shockwave therapy to be effective and safe, but more research is needed to identify potential risks and the best treatment protocols for someone with erectile dysfunction.What is the success rate of shockwave therapy for ED? ›
Conclusion: In the present study, Li-SWT was a safe and effective treatment in 63.5% of men with ED who failed to respond to oral PDE5i. Factors such as age (<45 years), ED duration (<2 years), and ED severity can predict treatment outcome in such patients.Is shockwave therapy permanent for erectile dysfunction? ›
Shockwave therapy for erectile dysfunction is not necessarily a lifelong treatment. Often, one course of treatment over a period of three months provides a long-term improvement in erectile function without the need for continuous treatment.Which shockwave is best for ED? ›
Renova is the only device on the market generating low intensity shockwaves which is specifically designed for ED treatment. Unlike other shockwaves systems, Renova focuses the waves onto a linear segment conformal to the treated organ.How often can you get shockwave therapy for ED? ›
Conclusion: Patients can benefit more in sexual performance from 12 sessions twice per week compared with 6 sessions once a week. Shockwave therapy can be repeated up to a total of 18 sessions.What are the drawbacks of shockwave therapy? ›
You might notice slight bruising or odd sensations in the spot where you were treated. This effect should be limited to numbness and mild swelling as the area heals, though. More severe side effects are not normal and should be reported to your doctor.How many times can you do shockwave? ›
Most patients require three sessions of shockwave therapy, each a week apart, before significant pain relief is noticed. Some conditions may require five treatments.How long do benefits of shockwave therapy last? ›
From our own experience and the studies on shockwave therapy, most patients will feel a significant clinical benefit in their pain 6 to 8 weeks after treatment. The studies show that this improvement in pain continues for months and even years after your final shockwave session has finished (Moya, et al 2018).Does shock wave therapy increase size? ›
The effects of therapy usually last 2 to 3 years. Does SHOCKWave increase size? There is no documented increase in size or length. Some men who undergo shockwave therapy may report an increase in size, but this may be due to an increase in blood flow and not a true increase in size.Why is shock wave therapy not approved in United States? ›
In the absence of clinical trials showing its long-term effectiveness, SWT has not been approved by the FDA for treatment of ED and is not covered by insurance. In its guidelines for ED treatment, the AUA designates SWT as an "investigational" treatment that should be limited to research trials.
For ED, people take it as an oral tablet. Some advantages of tadalafil include the following: Longest lasting: It is the longest lasting PDE5 drug for ED, typically lasting up to 36 hours, though some reports suggest it can last up to 72 hours.
A single treatment usually takes between 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on the injury, a patient will usually receive three to five treatments over a period of several weeks.How deep does shockwave therapy penetrate? ›
In contrast, focused shock wave therapy delivers the greatest amount of energy into a focused point at a determined depth in the body and penetrates accurately into deep tissue layers (from 5mm to 40mm) where the problem actually is.How do I know if Shockwave is working? ›
The initial results for many patients is a numbing sensation in the area that was treated. Your initial results are typically a temporary response to the treatment, meaning your pain will be dulled but it will not be fixed for several more weeks. Your initial results will take the edge off the worst of your pain.Can I do shockwave therapy at home? ›
Shockwave Therapy use at home devices are mostly in the form of wand like instrument that comes with a manual, and accessories makes it extremely easy to use. Before start using make sure to read all the instructions thoroughly after unboxing the device and accessories.Can Shockwave damage kidneys? ›
On the downside SWL can cause vascular trauma to the kidney and surrounding organs. This acute SW damage can be severe, can lead to scarring with a permanent loss of functional renal volume, and has been linked to potentially serious long-term adverse effects.Where should you not use shockwave therapy? ›
It isn't for everyone.
- Certain heart conditions or pacemakers.
- Taking medication that interferes with blood clotting.
Shockwave therapy enhances capillary density in the border zones of experimental myocardial infarction, resulting in decreased infarct size and hence, improved cardiac function (27).How long does shockwave therapy results last? ›
For most patients, the effects of the therapy usually last between 2 and 3 years. The reason for these long-term results is that the Gainswave treatment actually fixes the ED problem through regenerative medicine.How many shockwave treatments can you have? ›
You may need up to three sessions of shockwave therapy. If your pain has improved but is still troubling you then you can have another three sessions. After the first three sessions we will contact you to see if your pain has improved.