Priapism: Overview

Content Written By: Arthur L. Burnett, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.S.

Priapism represents a condition of prolonged and persistent penile erection unassociated with sexual interest or stimulation. Its significance relates to its complications of structural damage of the penis and erectile dysfunction if inappropriately treated. It is believed to be relatively rare, although its incidence may actually be underestimated. Frequently, it is poorly recognized by the regular public and medical professionals alike, due in part to the relative lack of simple and effective treatments for it. Certain patient populations are significantly impacted by priapism to include individuals with hematologic disorders (blood conditions) such as sickle cell disease, in which as many as 40% of individuals develop the condition at some point in their lifetimes.

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