Erectile Dysfunction: Vacuum Constriction Devices
A vacuum constriction device (VCD) is an external pump with a band on it
that a man with erectile dysfunction can use to get and maintain an
The VCD consists of an acrylic cylinder with a pump that may be attached
directly to the end of the penis. A constriction ring or band is placed on the
cylinder at the other end, which is applied to the body. The cylinder and pump
are used to create a vacuum to help the penis become erect; the band or
constriction ring is used to help maintain the erection.
How Do Vacuum Constriction Devices Work?
To use a vacuum constriction device:
- Place the pump, which can be pumped by hand or run on batteries, over the penis.
- Pump the air out of the cylinder 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, with the help of lubricant, 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.
Be sure that devices brought without a prescription contains a "quick release" feature, as there have been reports of penile injuries due to devices that did not release its vacuum on-demand or released it too slowly.
How Well Do Vacuum Constriction Devices Work?
Studies suggest that about 50%-80% of men are satisfied with the results of
VCDs. As with any other method of treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED),
satisfaction rates may decrease with time.
Who Should Consider Using a Vacuum Constriction
Vacuum constriction devices are safe and can be used by patients with ED
caused by many conditions, including:
Vacuum constriction devices should not be used by men who may have a
significant congenital bleeding disorder or a disorder that predisposes them 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.
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