Erectile dysfunction is a condition in which a man cannot achieve an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. The risk of this disease increases with age. To treat the health condition, doctors usually use medicines that dilate the penile vessels. However, they do not always work, but only with erectile dysfunction of vascular origin. The effect diminishes over time. These medicines are contraindicated in some patients. In such cases, medical specialists resort to other treatment methods. Stem cells are increasingly used in Europe. Their administration allows the patient to obtain long-term therapeutic results that last up to 6 months.
- Why does erectile dysfunction develop
- Standard therapy for impotence
- History of application of stem cells for erectile dysfunction
- Treatment of impotence with adipose tissue cells
- Other stem cell treatments
- Stem cells for veno-occlusive erectile dysfunction
- Why is it worth undergoing stem cell therapy in Europe
- Treatment in Europe with Booking Health at an affordable price
Why does erectile dysfunction develop
Erectile dysfunction affects 20% of men over 40 years of age. The prevalence of pathology increases with age. In 80% of cases, erectile dysfunction is organic in nature, which means that it develops due to various pathologies. These are mostly atherosclerosis or diabetic micro- and macroangiopathy (vascular lesions caused by diabetes mellitus). Erectile dysfunction of psychogenic origin develops in 20% of cases.
Organic erectile dysfunction can be associated with the following lesions:
- Directly to the penis.
- Endocrine system (decreased production of male sex hormones).
- Blood vessels.
- Peripheral nerves.
The older the man, the higher the risk of sexual dysfunction. The reason is a decrease in the rigidity of the arteries, the development of cardiovascular diseases, and a decrease in blood flow to the penis. Although most elderly patients suffer from impaired erection function due to vascular causes, other mechanisms are also possible, for example, decreased levels of male hormones and damage to arteries, simultaneous damage to arteries and peripheral nerves.
Standard therapy for impotence
To treat erectile dysfunction, doctors use vasodilators. After the arteries are dilated, blood flow to the penis increases, so an erection can be achieved. At an early stage of the disease, it is enough to take medicines orally. With the progression of pathology, an erection can be achieved only by injecting medication into the corpora cavernosa of the penis. The injection of medicines into the urethra and vacuum devices (local negative pressure therapy) can also become an option of choice.
No matter how therapy for erectile dysfunction is carried out, a person receives only temporary effects. The medicines work for several hours, maximum for several days.
In most cases, it is impossible to cure pathology. The exception is two types of erectile dysfunction: psychological dysfunction in young patients and hormonal imbalance. In other men, doctors can provide only improvement, but not cure. The therapy of the disease is carried out continuously.
Additionally, patients receive treatments for the underlying disease, which causes erectile dysfunction. For example, in case of obesity, therapy is aimed at normalizing weight. In age-related androgen deficiency, testosterone replacement therapy is used. Statins are used for atherosclerosis, antihypertensive drugs are used for arterial hypertension, and hypoglycemic drugs are used for diabetes mellitus. Patients are recommended such lifestyle modifications as smoking cessation, reduced alcohol consumption, exclusion of toxins, regular physical activity.
However, the disease inevitably progresses. If no other treatment methods work anymore, then the only way out is falloprosthetics. Implants are placed in the penis. They permanently "fix" the organ in a state of erection or allow the patient to achieve it by injecting fluid into the implants.
In recent years, innovative treatment methods have been used in developed countries to help delay the need for surgery or avoid surgery. Doctors use stem cell treatments to improve blood flow to the penis and repair damaged peripheral nerves. In most cases, stem cells are obtained from peripheral blood or adipose tissue, and injected into the corpora cavernosa of the penis.
History of application of stem cells for erectile dysfunction
Bochinski was the first in the world to use stem cell therapy for erectile dysfunction. In 2004, he described experiments in mice and proved that the treatment method works for erectile dysfunction related to the damage to the cavernous nerve. Scientists once injected into the corpora cavernosa a stromal vascular fraction, which is a specially processed adipose tissue of the animals that contains a large number of mesenchymal stem cells.
A clinical trial using stem cell therapy for erectile dysfunction was first performed by Bahk in 2010. He injected stem cells from the umbilical cord blood into the corpora cavernosa of the penis. Thus, 7 men with erectile dysfunction caused by type 2 diabetes mellitus received treatment. The average age of the subjects was 70 years. The oldest was 87 years old, the youngest 57 years old. All patients did not benefit from standard drug therapy for erectile dysfunction.
The following results were obtained: within 1 month of monitoring, 3 patients had morning erections, and another 3 patients recovered erections within 3 months. The effect was maintained for at least 6 months. Stem cells used alone only failed to provide sufficient erections for penile penetration. However, in combination with FDE-5 inhibitors (standard drugs for impotence therapy), some men managed to restore an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Six patients noted an increase in libido, which persisted for 11 months.
As of today, the search for the most effective methods of stem cell therapy for erectile dysfunction continues. Doctors use the patient's own and donor cells, obtained from different types of tissues, inject them into the penis and intravenously, culture or inject immediately after receiving. The doctors in France started using stem cells from bone marrow after prostatectomy. In the United States, the treatment method of vasculogenic (vascular) and neurogenic erectile dysfunction with the help of the stromal vascular fraction has become popular. In the last few years, this procedure has begun to be carried out in Europe.
Treatment of impotence with adipose tissue cells
Obtaining cells from adipose tissue is considered to be the simplest and the most effective. The advantage of this approach is that the physician can gain large amounts of adipose tissue. The content of stem cells in it is high, so they do not need to be cultured (their number should not be increased in the laboratory). If the cells are not cultured, the risk of genetic defects is reduced, the procedure is faster and cheaper. Stem cells are injected within 1,5-2 hours after obtaining adipose tissue. Namely, the treatment takes only one day for men with erectile dysfunction.
The doctors receive 100-200 ml of adipose tissue from the anterior abdominal wall in patients under local or intravenous anesthesia. It is processed: manually or using a special device.
The enzymatic method is usually used for manual processing. The adipose tissue is placed in a centrifuge, and separated into three layers. The middle layer is taken away and the other two are removed. The adipose tissue is then washed with phosphate, buffer, solution with antibiotics and antifungal agents. Enzymes are added to the adipose tissue, as they break down the "skeleton" of the connective tissue within 2 hours. The resulting liquid is centrifuged again and separated into three layers. The doctor takes the lower one. This one is the stromal vascular fraction. It contains a large number of mesenchymal stem cells.
This process is usually automated in developed countries. There are special devices where the doctor can place the patient's adipose tissue, and eventually receive the stromal vascular fraction. It is faster, the extraction of stem cells takes place under sterile conditions. In addition, the device receives the stromal vascular fraction without enzymes: ultrasound is used instead of them. Therefore, with this method, doctors are able to obtain more stem cells from the same volume of adipose tissue.
In patients with erectile dysfunction, a stromal vascular fraction of 4 ml is injected into the corpora cavernosa of the penis. It contains approximately 50 million stem cells. Then a tightening turnstile is applied for 15 minutes.
The results after the injection of stem cells are not achieved immediately, but after a few weeks. The main mechanism of action is the stimulation of angiogenesis, namely, the growth of new blood vessels.
Other stem cell treatments
The treatment for erectile dysfunction may involve the use of other sources of stem cells:
- Bone marrow.
- Patient's blood.
- Umbilical cord blood.
- Musculoskeletal cells.
- From human testicles.
- Allogeneic (donor).
The preference is given to the patient's own cells, because it is easier to obtain them, and such cells are safe for health. The material is obtained without significant invasion, if possible. For example, stem cells from peripheral blood can be used. The problem is that there are few of them in the peripheral blood. However, European experts have found a solution: they isolate a few stem cells using magnetic separation, and then multiply them in a special incubator. As a result, it is possible to obtain several million stem cells, which can be administered with intracavernous injections (into the penis).
Stem cells for veno-occlusive erectile dysfunction
In some men, deterioration in sexual function is caused due to venous leakage. They have an impairment of the function of the closing mechanism, which prevents the outflow of blood from the corpora cavernosa during erection. The main problem is the lack of complete filling and contraction of intrathecal cavernous structures. As a result, the veins are not compressed by the protein membrane during an erection.
The main treatment method in such cases is a surgical intervention. The doctors perform vein embolization or ligation. However, the effect is partial and, moreover, temporary – after 6-12 months, recanalization (restoration of patency) of the veins occurs, and the problem appears again.
European hospitals use additional treatment options, namely stimulation of the growth of peduncles, blocking the venous outflow in the intrathecal structures, by injecting autologous stem cells into the corpora cavernosa and penile veins. They are injected during the operation. As a result, it is possible to obtain a more strong and lasting effect.
Why is it worth undergoing stem cell therapy in Europe
In most parts of the world, stem cells are not used at all to restore sexual function in men. Сell regenerative technologies are mostly used in countries with advanced medicine.
There are several reasons for you to undergo therapy in Europe:
- Vast experience in the use of stem cells.
- Preference is given to minimally invasive methods of obtaining them, for example, from peripheral blood.
- Culturing technology allows the doctors to quickly obtain several million stem cells for their injection into the penis.
- More efficient methods of extracting stem cells from adipose tissue are used: instead of outdated enzymatic processing, special devices are applied. With their help, the stromal lipid fraction is obtained faster, due to ultrasonic cavitation or lysis, and it contains more stem cells.
- It is possible to carry out treatment for erectile dysfunction within a single day, and the results last up to 6 months or more.
- Minimal health risks: all invasive procedures are performed under sterile conditions, the risk of complications is close to zero.
- Adequate pain therapy for all procedures.
- Successful combination of stem cells with other treatments for erectile dysfunction, including surgery.
In countries with developed medicine, treatment is effective, safe and comfortable. You can improve your sexual health by using the very latest advances in cell regenerative medicine.
Treatment in Europe with Booking Health at an affordable price
To undergo stem cell treatments in one of the European hospitals, please use the services of the Booking Health company. On our website, you can see the cost of treatment in different hospitals, compare prices and book a medical care program at an affordable price. Stem cell therapy in a European hospital will be easier and faster for you, and the cost of treatment will be lower.
Please leave your request on the Booking Health website. Our employee will contact you and provide a consultation about the treatment in Europe. Booking Health will take care of the organization of your trip. We will provide the following benefits for you:
- We will choose a hospital for treatment in Europe, whose doctors use stem cells for erectile dysfunction.
- We will help you overcome the language barrier, establish communication with your attending physician.
- We will reduce the waiting time for the medical care program and book a doctor's appointment on the most suitable dates.
- We will reduce the price. The cost of treatment in European hospitals will be decreased due to the lack of additional coefficients for foreign patients.
- We will take care of all organizational issues: documents for entering the country, transfer from the airport, hotel, interpreting services, etc.
- We will prepare a medical care program and translate medical records. You do not have to undergo previously performed diagnostic procedures.
- We will provide communication with the hospital after the completion of treatment in Europe.
- We will organize additional examinations and treatment in European hospitals, if necessary.
- We will buy medicines abroad and forward them to your native country.
- We will help you keep in touch with the hospital and the attending physician after the completion of treatment in Europe.
You will receive treatment from the best doctors in the world. The employees of Booking Health will help reduce the cost of treatment and take care of all organizational issues, and you will only have to focus on restoring your health.
Authors: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova, Dr. Sergey Pashchenko