50 Years of Erectile Dysfunction: How Far Have We Come?

Jeffrey A. Albaugh


Urol Nurs. 2019;39(5):262-264. 

In This Article

Vacuum Devices

Vacuum erection device/vacuum constriction device has been around in some form since the early 20th century, and in 1982, were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical device. It is the least invasive and least expensive of current ED treatment options. The effectiveness and safety of vacuum erection devices have been well documented over the years. The vacuum device consists of a pump, plastic cylinder, and several tension/constriction bands or rings of various sizes and tension; a water-soluble lubricant is also required. The cylinder is large enough to fit over the erect penis. An insert can be added or removed at the cylinder base to vary the size of the opening for proper fit. All devices have a pressure release valve on the pump or cylinder, and they may be either manual or battery-operated. The devices produce an erection by creating negative pressure around the penis that triggers passive blood flow into the corpora cavernosa. An erection is maintained by the tension band or ring, which is placed around the base of the penis. The band/ring does not completely constrict penile arterial blood flow but should be removed after 30 minutes. In addition, vacuum devices may be somewhat effective after the removal of a penile prosthesis.