What Is Penile Ultrasound and Doppler?

An ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the inside of your body. A penile ultrasound is done to look at the blood flow into and out of your penis. If you have penile curvature (a curve in your penis), it can also be used to measure the curvature. These things can help your doctor decide which treatment is best for you.

Your partner or other family members won’t be allowed in the room during your ultrasound. After your ultrasound, they can be with you while your doctor talks with you about your results and treatment plan.

Penile Doppler Ultrasound

Penile ultrasound can be used to evaluate many conditions affecting the penis, including erectile dysfunction (ED), plaques (such as those caused by Peyronie’s disease), fibrosis, lumps, and even cancer.

Men with erection problems often have a Doppler ultrasound, which can show the way blood flows in and out of organs. In a Doppler ultrasound, the sound waves bounce off circulating red blood cells. A change in pitch signals the movement of blood.

Blood flow is critical for a man’s erections. When a man is sexually stimulated, the arteries in his penis widen and the penis fills with blood. This blood is what gives the penis the firmness it needs for sex. Veins in the penis constrict, holding the blood in. When the stimulation stops, or when the man ejaculates, the veins widen again and allow blood to flow back into the body.

Many men with erectile function have problems with this blood flow. The arteries might not widen enough for sufficient blood to flow in. Or, the veins might not constrict enough to keep the blood from flowing out. Both situations can lead to weak erections.

The test begins with an injection of medicine, which causes an erection by widening arteries and increasing blood flow. From there, a doctor moves a small device called a transducer over against the skin of the penis. The transducer sends data to a computer so that the doctor can tell how fast blood is flowing in and out.

Possible Side Effects Or Complications

Painful injection – this is a part of the test to see whether the nerve inside the penis is normal. A patient with nerve problems may feel severe aching pain for several hours.

Small area of bruising (black and blue) or bleeding at the injection site. This happens more often if aspirin or anticoagulant is taken.

Feeling lightheaded after injection, which normally disappears within a few minutes. This occasionally happens in patients with nerve problems or too much overflow from the penis.

Before Your Penile Ultrasound

Men are usually advised not to take any erectile dysfunction medications (such as Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis) for a day or two before the test. They might also be instructed not to have sex or masturbate the day of the ultrasound.

After Your Penile Ultrasound

After your penile ultrasound, you will need to stay in the office for about 30 minutes to make sure your erection goes away completely. If your erection doesn’t go away on its own, the Doctor will give you an injection of a medication to help it go away.

During this time, your doctor will explain the results of your ultrasound. They will also talk with you about your treatment plan. Your whole appointment should take about 60 to 90 minutes.