In one of the first wide-scale studies on the topic, researchers have found that whilst cases of erectile dysfunction have increased significantly since 2001, the use of prosthetic penises as a treatment for the condition has decreased.
Researchers have published the first large population-based study of U.S trends in erectile dysfunction and its surgical management from 2001 to 2010.
Using data from Medicare beneficiaries, the investigators found that while the prevalence of erectile dysfunction has increased by 165%, the use of penile prostheses actually decreased by 50%, from 4.6% in 2001 to 2.3% in 2010.
Prostheses have been increasingly used in sicker patients with significant comorbidities such as diabetes, however.
Age, ethnicity, and geography often influenced whether patients would undergo penile prosthetic placement. When looking at ethnicity, white males experienced the most significant decline in penile prosthetic surgery. In terms of age groups, men aged 70-74 were 2.6% less likely to undergo the surgery than they were in 2001.
Elderly males as well as black males were most at risk of requiring prosthetic removal or an additional surgery to correct complications.
"The research demonstrates the continued role for surgical treatment of erectile dysfunction that persists despite the increasing use of oral medications and that variation in this treatment exists even in the absence of clinical factors," said Dr. Daniel Lee, lead author of The Journal of Sexual Medicine study.