Vacuum Erection Devices (Penis Pumps)

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Vacuum Erection Devices (VEDs), or penis pumps, are used to draw blood into the penis, causing an erection.  The devices come in both manual and electric versions.  Some men prefer the convenience of electric pumps, while other’s prefer the control of a manual device.

Pumps may be used for several purposes, described below.

Erectile Dysfunction

Penis pumps are a good alternative for men who don’t respond to, or prefer not to take, oral medications for ED.

Using a penis pump is simple:

  1. The opening of the tube is coating with a lubricating gel.
  2. A nylon or polymer constriction ring is stretched around the opening of the tube.
  3. The penis is inserted into the tube, pressing the lubricated opening tightly against the man’s body.
  4. The pump is activated, creating a vacuum in the tube, and causing the penis to expand.
  5. When the penis is sufficiently hard, the constriction ring is slipped off the end of the tube, onto the base of the penis, so that it traps the blood in the penis.
  6. The vacuum is released using a valve on the pump, and the tube is slipped off the penis.

Be sure to remove the constriction ring within 30 minutes, or if it becomes painful.  Restricting blood to the penis for prolonged periods can cause permanent damage.

Pros

  • Although a good quality FDA-approved vacuum pump can be expensive ($200-$400), it is much cheaper than oral medications like Viagra and Cialis in the long run.
  • For men who don’t want to depend on chemicals, or have side-effects from oral medications, vacuum pumps are a natural alternative.

Cons

  • Using the pump is a little cumbersome, and – let’s face it – can kill the mood.
  • Some men find the pump and constriction rings uncomfortable or even painful.
  • For some men, the pump does not produce a firm enough erection for penetrative sex.

 

Patient Satisfaction: Vacuum Pumps

In our Comprehensive ED Impact Survey, we found a low level of patient satisfaction with vacuum pumps, probably due to the “cons” shown above.

Therapeutic or Rehabilitation Use

In order to remain healthy, the penis depends on regular erections to oxygenate the tissues.  It’s believed that is why men often get erections during the night.  Men with severe ED – particularly men who have undergone prostate removal or radiation treatment for prostate cancer – often find that their penis actually shrinks.

Regular use of a vacuum pump (20 minutes per day, three days a week) can maintain the health of the penis, and prevent or even reverse shrinkage1.  Men who are planning a penile implant are advised to use a vacuum pump daily for a month prior to the surgery, to stretch and loosen the tissues.   This will insure maximum length after the implant surgery, and may also speed recovery2 3.

Vacuum pumps have also been shown to be useful in decreasing curvature and shrinkage due to Peyronie’s Disease4.

Penis Enlargement

Late night infomercials and ads on porn sites may promote vacuum pumps to permanently enlarge the penis.  It doesn’t work.

As noted in the previous section, a penis pump may help to prevent or reverse shrinkage for men with severe ED.  But a pump will not enlarge the penis beyond its original size.


Safety

If the vacuum is too strong, a pump can rupture blood vessels in the penis, resulting in bruising and possibly permanent damage.  For that reason, it’s very important to get a well-made, FDA-approved vacuum erection device.

These devices have two ways to “release” the vacuum:  a manual button, and an automatic valve that is triggered if the vacuum becomes too strong.

Avoid the cheap “penis enlargement pumps” sold in sex shops.  A good pump will cost between $100 for a basic manual model, to $400 or more for a top-of-the-line pump.

Recommendation

We recommend the Pos-T-Vac line of FDA approved pumps. The manual model is currently available at Amazon.com. (Please use our Contact Form to notify us if this link is broken or the pump is out of stock.)

Pos-T-Vac Vacuum Erection Device (Penis Pump)


References

  1. Lin, Haocheng; Wang, Run. “The science of vacuum erectile device in penile rehabilitation after radical prostatectomy.” Translational Andrology and Urology. Mar 2013; 2(1): 61–66.
  2. Spitz, Aaron.  The Penis Book.  Rodale Wellness, 2018. <https://edtreatment.info/new-book-penis-health/>
  3. Dalkin, BL; Christopher, BA. “Preservation of penile length after radical prostatectomy: early intervention with a vacuum erection device.” International Journal of Impotence Research. Sep-Oct2007; 19(5): 501-4. <https://www.nature.com/articles/3901561.pdf>
  4. Raheem, AA; Garaffa, G; Raheem, TA; Dixon, M; Kayes, A; Christopher, N; Ralph, D. “The role of vacuum pump therapy to mechanically straighten the penis in Peyronie’s disease.” BJU International. Apr 2016; 117(4):E7. <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2010.09365.x>

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