With the introduction of penile prostheses in 1973, interest in erectile dysfunction (ED) increased greatly. Prior to that time, no effective treatments were available and the topic was rarely discussed. Changing sexual customs, beginning in late 1960s, provided a more open forum for discussion and more patients were willing to seek treatment for this common problem. Research on the anatomy and physiology of erections and ED soon followed; investigators sought forms of therapy that were less aggressive and invasive than the surgical placement of prosthetic devices. Highly effective oral, intraurethral, and intracavernous medications have since been marketed, and vacuum erection devices have proven safe, effective, and acceptable to many patients. The growing number of patients opting to treat their impotence problem has, for the most part, selected a less aggressive form of treatment, ie medications and vacuum devices. Penile implant sales, however, have remained stable over the past decade. These devices have provided a predictable and reliable means of restoring erections for many patients, especially for those in whom less invasive treatments have not been effective or in whom scar tissue in the penis has not permitted a satisfactory result with other alternatives.
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