Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the inability to obtain or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. If you are having trouble achieving or maintaining an erection, it is important that you see your physician immediately.
ED is primarily caused by an underlying a medical condition such as vascular disease, diabetes, prostate cancer or hypertension. Today more than 30 million men suffer from some form of ED ranging from mild, occasional ED to chronic, severe ED.
ED significantly impacts the quality of life for both men and their partner. It can lead to loss of self-esteem, depression, anxiety and sever relationship problems. The good news is that ED can be effectively managed provided that men have the right therapy, support and attitude.
There is a range of ED treatments and interventions available, including;
- Oral medication (such as Viagra®)
- Vacuum Erection Devices (such as the VED®)
- Transurethral delivery of alprostadil (MUSE®)
- Compounded drugs inserted into the penis
- Penile implants
Most physicians suggest that treatment proceed along a path moving from least invasive (like oral medications) to the most invasive (like penile implants). It’s important that you talk to your physician about which ED treatment or combination of treatments is right for you.
While oral medications work for some people they are not effective for everyone. Examples include men who you have cardiovascular disease or take nitrates for chest pain, men who are diabetic or take high blood pressure medication, men who have had a radical prostatectomy or other pelvic surgery. Additionally, oral medications take time to work and can have side effects such as; headaches, flushing, upset stomach and blurred vision. Finally they are expensive and must be continually replaced.
Among the wide range of treatments for ED (e.g. Oral Drugs, Injections and Penile Implants), Vacuum Erection Device (VED) Therapy remains the safest, most effective and non-invasive treatment available.
VED therapy is the only natural, drug free treatment for erectile dysfunction proven over 90% effective. VED therapy even works for diabetic and high blood pressure patients. Additionally, VED therapy is not associated with side effects common to oral medications. Best of all studies have shown that both patients and their partners report a high level of satisfaction with VED therapy.
Benefits Of VED Therapy
- No surgery
- No serious side effects
- Easy to learn and easy to use
- Medicare coverage
- Long term satisfaction
- Preserves all other ED treatment options
- Works as a stand alone treatment or in combination with other treatments
- For men who have had prostate cancer surgery, clinical studies, performed by leading Urologists, encourage daily use of Vacuum Therapy to improve penile health and restore adequate blood flow to the tissues of the penis.
Why Men Choose VED Therapy
About half of men with erectile dysfunction choose VED therapy. Many choose to VED therapy because they take blood pressure medications or nitrates, which can be contraindicated with the leading PDE5 inhibitors (Viagra, Cialis, etc.). Others chose VED therapy because oral medications are ineffective after prostate surgery, because the nerves ending to the prostate are in a state of shock or injury. Some people use vacuum erection devices in conjunction with oral medications (Viagra, Cialis, etc.) to help enhance the effectiveness of such medications.
Many men choose vacuum erection devices because of its high success rate. Oral medication is effective 60-70% of the time when there is no nerve damage present. Pellet suppositories (MUSE®) are successful about 50% of the time. Penis injections are successful around 75% of the time, but they can be painful and it’s difficult to determine dosage levels. VED therapy on the other hand, has a success rate of over 90%.
Vacuum therapy also has the benefit of being a non-invasive solution. Injections can cause fibrosis, or scar tissue build up which can cause curvature or bending of the penis. Penile implants permanently remove a man’s ability to have a natural erection. Vacuum therapy, however, circumvents both of these problems.
Vacuum therapy can be used as an exercise to prevent atrophy (muscle shrinkage) in the penis. Men typically have 3-5 nocturnal (night-time) erections during sleep. If a person has ED, these natural erections do not occur. This can result in the penis shrinking in both length and circumference. Vacuum therapy allows for men to stretch the penis providing arterial blood flow to the penis to help maintain length and size.
There are some risks to vacuum therapy. Some of these risks include: potential pain, bruising, numbness, or a cold sensation in the penis. Some men find the tension band irritating and may prevent ejaculation. See “Side Effects” for more information.
Who Should Consider VED Therapy
Vacuum erection devices are safe and can be used by patients with ED caused by many conditions, including:
- Psychological issues such as anxiety or depression
- Poor blood flow to the penis
- Surgery for prostate or colon cancer
Note: Vacuum erection devices should not be used by men who may have a significant congenital bleeding disorder or a disorder that predisposes you to a condition called priapism (a prolonged, sometime painful erection lasting over several hours). Examples include sickle cell anemia, some forms of leukemia, and other blood conditions.
VED Therapy Following Prostate Surgery
Certain medical procedures—like radical prostatectomies—can cause temporary impotence as a result of nerve damage. About 40-85% of patients reported ED for up to 18 months after surgery.
To help manage ED following prostate surgery the 2007 Annual American Urological Association Conference published their recommendations for use of vacuum therapy devices to be highly successful in post-operative rehabilitation for gentlemen who have undergone prostate surgery. The use of vacuum therapy systems to obtain erections several times a day and several times per week (please consult your physician for details on recommended therapy) simulates the previously occurring spontaneous nocturnal (night-time) erections that are no longer occurring due to trauma to the nerves and the prostate region. Spontaneous nocturnal erections are nature's way of maintaining oxygenated blood flow to the penis, therefore maintaining overall health of the penis. The studies show decreased atrophy (muscle shrinkage) of the penis, decreased recovery times and increased successful erections with the use of vacuum erection devices. Note some physicians will prescribe a combination of both oral medication and VED therapy following prostate surgery.
In addition to ED after prostate surgery one of the most embarrassing side effects of prostatectomy is the shrinkage of the penis, both in circumference and length. Penile shrinkage is common among men who have had prostate surgery and tends to worsen over time. However, VED therapy has been shown to help patients maintain peroperative penis size. In a clinical study, 63% of patients who didn’t use a vacuum erection device after a prostatectomy suffered from penis shrinkage vs. shrinkage in only 23% of the patients who routinely used a vacuum erection device 1. Other clinical studies have reported early sexual function, penile length preservation and high satisfaction rates among men who routinely used a vacuum erection device after prostate surgery 2,3.
- 1. Early use of vacuum constriction device following radical prostatectomy facilitates early sexual activity and potentially earlier return of erectile function. Raina R, Agarwal A, Ausmundson S, Lakin M, Nandipati KC, Montague DK, Mansour D, Zippe CD. Int J Impot Res. 2006 Jan-Feb;18(1):77-81.PMID: 16107868 PubMed
- 2. Preservation of penile length after radical prostatectomy: early intervention with a vacuum erection device. Dalkin BL, Christopher BA. Int J Impot Res. 2007 Sep-Oct;19(5):501-4. Epub 2007 Jul 26.PMID: 17657210 PubMed
- 3. A pilot study on the early use of the vacuum erection device after radical retropubic prostatectomy. Köhler TS, Pedro R, Hendlin K, Utz W, Ugarte R, Reddy P, Makhlouf A, Ryndin I, Canales BK, Weiland D, Nakib N, Ramani A, Anderson JK, Monga M. BJU Int. 2007 Oct;100(4):858-62.PMID: 17822466 PubMed
VED® Systems from Firma Medical
How does someone 'return to recovery'? For the past 20 years VED® Systems (manufactured and sold by Firma Medical) have provided men a simple and natural way to return to health, recovery and intimacy. Today Firma’s next generation of VED® technology along with our customer support, and individual clinical follow-up is creating and even higher standard of product dependability and clinical excellence.
VED® therapy is an effective, stand-alone ED treatment that provides men with the confidence and control to create on-demand erection without the side effects, costs or waiting period associated with other ED treatments. In additionally to being an excellent a stand-alone treatment, VED® therapy can be used in combination with other ED treatments (like oral medications, injections or MUSE®) to help improve penile health and better manage the effects of ED.
Used properly, the VED® System will produce an erection in just about any man. Some men even claim that after a few uses they can attain normal erections without the VED®.
How VED® Systems Work
The VED® has three parts: a plastic cylinder in which the penis is placed; a pump, which draws air out of the cylinder; and an elastic band (constriction ring), which is put around the base of the penis to maintain the erection by keeping the blood from flowing out of the penis. The four steps below summerize how to use the VED®
- Place the VED® pump and cylinder, over the penis
- Pump the air out of the cylinder slowly so that a vacuum is created. The vacuum draws blood into the shaft of the penis and causes it to swell and become erect
- Once the penis is erect slide the retaining band down onto the lower end of the penis
- Remove the pump after releasing the vacuum
Intercourse can be attempted with the constriction band in place to help maintain the erection. The band can be left on safely for up to 30 minutes to allow for successful intercourse. See the Firma Medical User Manual for complete VED® instructions.
An erection obtained by the vacuum constriction device is not the same as an erection achieved naturally. The penis tends to be purplish in color and can be cold or numb. Other side effects can include:
- A black and blue mark or small area of bruising on the shaft of the penis. This is usually painless and generally will resolve in a few days.
- Decrease in the force of the ejaculation. The constriction band traps the ejaculate or semen at the time of orgasm. This is not dangerous and usually does not cause pain. The semen will usually dribble out once the constriction band is removed. Generally, this does not interfere with the pleasure of a climax or orgasm.
Note that because the prostate is removed during prostate surgery it is impossible to ejaculate after a prostatectomy, but the ability to experience an orgasm is intact.
Benefits of VED® From Firma Medical
At Firma Medical our goal is to help our customers return to a satisfying and rewarding sexual experience. We offer a variety of FDA cleared and insurance approved vacuum erection devices to help men achieve satisfying sexual health, recovery and intimacy. Here are a few reasons why you should choose and VED® system from Firma Medical.
Easy to Use
The VED® Systems are easy to learn and easy to use. After just a few practice sessions, most first-time users feel entirely comfortable with the VED® System.
The Sensation Seal™ is a reusable, thin, highly expandable, latex seal designed to make using any Firma Medical VED® system easier, more effective and more pleasurable. The Sensation Seal™ features include:
- The seal eliminates (or significalty reduces) the need to place VED lubricant around the outside of the penis or inside the cylinder.
- Because the seal closes off the end of the cylinder you do not have to tightly press the cylinder up against your pelvic abdomen.
- The seal keeps the skin around the penis and pubic hair from being sucked into the open cylinder.
- Because the seal closes off the end of the cylinder a vacuum is easier to create thereby helping to ensure better erection success.
- As the penis passes though the penis opening you should notice a slight positive sensation on the external penis skin.
The VED® System is an excellent, cost effective value because they provide many years of use for a single one-time cost. Likewise, the VED® Ultra System is covered by Medicare (Part B)) and many private insurers. Firma Insurance Reimbursement Specialists will work with you to determine coverage eligibility and level of reimbursement. Additionally, our over-the-counter (OTC) systems are value priced and do not require a physician prescription.
Note: Both the Firma prescription and OTC VED® Systems are FDA-cleared and safe when used as directed. However, in order to qualify for insurance reimbursement, you must purchase the VED® Ultra (prescription required) product. Be sure to check with our Firma Insurance Reimbursement Specialists to make sure you qualify for reimbursement. Firma Medical cannot guarantee reimbursement. There are more accessories and benefits to VED® Ultra (prescription) product. See the product description for more information.
Return Policy and Warranty
All VED® systems come with a “No Questions Asked” Return Policy and an extended product warranty. These guarantees reflect our assurance of quality and commitment to your satisfaction.
Our patient support services reflect our commitment to your Health. Recovery and Intimacy. All our VED® Systems include training with a Firma “education specialist” who will help you (and your partner) learn how to use the VED® System, and answer any questions you may have. You will also receive a User Manual and a step-by-step DVD. In addition, you have continuous access to toll-free telephone patient support line at 1-800-771-9263 plus access to our web-based assistance right here at: www.fimramedical.com
All Firma patients who undergo VED® therapy are eligible to participate in the VED® Registry. The VED® Registry is a research database designed to help better understand the effectiveness, satisfaction and compliance (use) of VED® therapy. The valuable information we gain from your participant will track your progress as well as help us improve our technology and our approach to VED® therapy. Naturally, your participation is completely voluntary.