Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a problem that most men don’t want to talk about — but everyone wants to solve. As we get older, losing a basic ability that many of us take for granted can have a big impact on the quality and enjoyment of life. Even if you’re ready to take action, it can be tough to know what you should do next.
The development of innovative stem cell technology has led to breakthroughs in a wide range of conditions, including ED. While the first thing many of us think of are pills, stem cell therapy for ED has become an intriguing option that is growing in popularity.
To help you learn more and provide answers to any questions you have, the knowledgeable team at Innovations Medical has created the following informative and easy-to-understand guide. Dr. Bill Johnson and his expert staff want to help readers gain a greater understanding of the use of adult stem cells for ED to help make informed treatment decisions.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
ED, also known as impotence, is the recurring or consistent inability to acquire or sustain an erection for sexual intercourse. Surveys show ED to be present in 16% of the male population, with an increasing incidence with age. Approximately 8% of men aged 20-30 experience ED while this increases to 37% of men aged 70-75.
Common Causes of Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
ED can result from a number of underlying causes. Normal erectile function requires properly functioning blood vessels and nerves, as well as the right stimulation. Interruption of any of these can result in ED. Underlying contributors can include vascular problems, neurological dysfunction, hormonal imbalance, or negative interaction with medications.
There is a strong association with cardiovascular disease. Many view erectile dysfunction as an early warning sign of heart attack or stroke disease. Men over age 45 or with significant risk factors such as family history, smoking, or high cholesterol should discuss erectile dysfunction with their primary physician. A cardiovascular evaluation may be appropriate.
Other evaluations such as a complete history, medication review, hormonal testing, and genital examination may also be considered. Proper evaluation can lead to effective treatment in most men. For many men who do not find effective treatments, adult stem cell therapy may be a good option.
Current Treatment Options for Erectile Dysfunction
Typically, the first step in treating erectile dysfunction is determining the underlying cause. Following evaluation and diagnosis, treatment options can include:
- Medications — such as Viagra (sildenafil) and Cialis (tadalafil). These are known as phosphodiesterase inhibitors. These work well in many men. Unfortunately, some men do not respond to these medications and others have side effects such as blurred vision, headache, dizziness, nosebleeds, nausea, and diarrhea. Serious side effects include high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and the risk of priapism, or prolonged and excruciatingly painful erections. Men taking nitroglycerin type drugs cannot use phosphodiesterase inhibitors.
- Drugs injected into the penis — such as Caverject (alprostadil) are the second choice. These drugs work for many men, but others dislike the need for a shot. These drugs are also available as a penile suppository that is inserted up the urethra.
- Vacuum-assisted erection devices — use a vacuum pump to assist with an erection. They are frequently coupled with a ring that fits at the base of the penis to help maintain the erection. Typically, no more than half of men are satisfied with the long term use of these devices.
- A penile prosthesis — is an option for men who do not respond to or are not satisfied with the above options. Several types are available.
- Testosterone replacement therapy — has been shown to be effective in the presence of low testosterone levels. The effectiveness of testosterone alone may decrease over time for men with already low hormone levels. For men with normal testosterone levels, adding to the levels is rarely helpful for erectile dysfunction.
- Other treatments — alternate options can range from pills to vascular surgery.
Using the above options is effective for a large number of men. For men who have not responded to the options available to them, or are dealing with adverse reactions, adult stem cell therapy may be an effective treatment.
Does Stem Cell Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction Work?
Innovations Medical was the first provider in the United States to use a form of treatment known as Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT) for ED. By combining AWT with adult stem cell therapy, we have developed an exciting, state-of-the-art therapeutic approach for ED.
How Are Adult Stem Cells Used for ED?
To treat conditions like ED, physicians can use adipose-derived adult stem cells, which are derived from a person’s own fat. Stem cells are the body’s raw materials, and can be used to make nearly any other cell. To treat ED, the harvested stem cells are injected, or deployed, into the shaft of the penis using a small needle.
Using a device called Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) before and after deployment can enhance the response to adult stem cell deployment.
How is Acoustic Wave Therapy Used in Erectile Dysfunction?
Very large versions of ESWT devices are used widely for the treatment of kidney stones. These devices deliver a shock wave to the body that breaks apart the kidney stone. AWT is a smaller application of ESWT and has been used for orthopedic injuries, scar improvement, and even the treatment of cellulite on women’s legs.
The small device has been used by itself for ED and a related disorder called Peyronie’s Disease. The treatment is similar to a deep tissue massage.
At Innovations Medical, our team administers three AWT treatments every other day for about a week. Following the second treatment, we deploy the adult stem cells as described. This combination of adult stem cell deployment and AWT treatment is the most advanced protocol for erectile dysfunction.
What Results Can I Expect?
Numerous studies have shown the benefits of stem cell therapy for ED, but researchers are continuing to improve the understanding in this area. At Innovations Medical and the Cell Surgical Network, more than 78% of patients have seen a positive response.
Cost of Stem Cell Treatments for ED
The cost of the initial treatment ranges from $5,000 to $10,000. The range in cost is dependent on the complexity of delivering the cells back to you. For example, spine conditions require multiple physicians to deliver the cells back to your body and this requires an increase in cost as multiple doctors are involved in the procedure. For many people the initial treatment is all that is needed; however, for some conditions, subsequent treatments may be required and these are done at a reduced fee.
AWT and Stem Cell Therapy for ED Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Answer: In most patients. Multiple animal and human studies have confirmed improvement in sexual function for most patients. Innovations Medical and the Cell Surgical Network have seen improvement in almost 80% of the most difficult ED patients.
Answer: Yes to both. Numerous studies have shown that stem cells are safe for use for ED. Innovations Medical and the Cell Surgical Network have also shown it to be very safe. AWT is widely used with minimal side effects.
Answer: Yes. Studies have shown that using both can improve results.
Answer: Most of the time. Both animal and human studies have shown improved sexual function after prostate surgery.
Answer: We typically recommend one stem cell treatment and four to eight AWT sessions. Some patients may benefit from a second stem cell deployment.
Contact Innovations Medical to Learn About Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
If you’re looking to treat erectile dysfunction, Innovations Medical is here for you. Our skilled professionals help you decide which treatment is best for you — keeping you informed and confident in the next steps. We’ve been helping our patients look and feel their best since 2005, and even our most advanced procedures are often minimally invasive.