Erectile dysfunction is a very unpleasant sexual and health experiences for a man. No wonder why is the loss of sexual ability quite challenging. Medicine offers various solutions depending on the cause of impotence. One of them is implants. That is a long-lasting treatment, but sometimes have cons like the abnormal feel and appearance or deterioration and thinning of penile flesh. The reason for that is mostly technology itself: it didn’t improve in the last 40 years. Still, a scientist Brian Lee, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed new technology solution for the penile prosthesis.
Boston Scientific supported the research conducted by the Brian Lee and Alberto Colombo. As a urologist, they were aware of disadvantages and issues with classic penile implants. Also, they know that the drugs like Viagra don’t have an effect on the third of patients. So they dedicated themselves to find a new solution to old problems. And it seems they found it!
The possible answer could be heat-activated exoskeleton of nitinol. Nitinol is a memory metal that has an ability to change its shape based on temperature. Nitinol also can back to the original shape as this is so-called shape-memory alloy. Thanks to its superelastic properties it is already used in endovascular surgeries. So, the basic idea is to insert nitinol implant which remains at body temperature. However, thanks to the metal memory feature, the implant can extend shape and back to the original one when it’s heated.
It is enough a few degrees above the body temperature to implant get heat and (re)shape. This transition process shouldn’t be painful. However, as the increased body temperature can be triggered by something else and cause the implant reaction, scientist work on the remote device. This device practically would be a heating tool with simple handling. Namely, it would be enough to wave over penis in order to heat implant via induction.
Heat-activated penile implant might restore sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction in a way that is much more harmless and effective. Probably it would need up to a decade to be available on the commercial market, but the scientists are an optimist.
“We’re hoping that, with a better device, a better patient experience, and a simpler surgery, more urologists would perform this operation, and more patients would want to try the device,” concluded Brian Lee.