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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-16

Surgical treatment of priapism in sickle cell patients: A noble therapy in preserving erection

Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, Ahmadu Bello University, Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ahmad Bello
Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University, Teaching Hospital, Zaria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-9596.187200

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Background: Priapism is a pathological condition of erectile tissue tumescence characterized by prolonged erection without any sexual stimulation and excitement. A classification commonly used to differentiate clinical presentation of priapism divides priapism into ischemic (low-flow) and nonischemic (high-flow) priapism. They have different pathological consequences and also differ in the overall management. The present study reviewed the modes of presentation and management and results of treatment of priapism in sickle cell patients. Patients and Methods: All consecutive sickle cell patients with priapism who were managed by surgical intervention at our unit between January 2000 and December 2011 were included in this study. The demographic characteristics, predisposing factors, and mode of treatment were reviewed. The outcomes of the treatment were analyzed using statistical software Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16. Results: Thirty-three patients with priapism due sickle cell disease were seen over 12 years; two patients were lost to follow-up and were excluded. Their age range was 2-35 years with a mean of 22.5 years. The patients who had an El-Ghorab cavernospongiosus shunt (ECS) had better results than those who had a conventional perineal cavernospongiosus shunt (PCS). Eleven patients with recurrent previous episodes of priapism had reduced or absent erection. Erection was better in patients with shorter duration of priapism and not more than one previous episode. The mean duration of symptoms from the time of presentation to treatment was 3 days. Of the twenty-one patients who presented in ≤2 days, 18 had normal erections and 3 had reduced erections at 12 weeks. Of the 12 patients who presented in ≥3 days, 5 had normal erections, 2 had reduced erections, and 5 had no erection. Ten patients had treatment with sildenafil during the follow-up period with some improvement. One patient who had PCS developed perineal urethrocutaneous fistula. Conclusion: Early surgical intervention is recommended in patients with ischemic priapism; regardless of the delay in presentation, and immediate unilateral distal venous shunt should be considered the best way to preserve erection. More prospective randomized studies are required to confirm these assertions.

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