Diagnostic imaging in the evaluation of erectile dysfunction

M. Hammad Ather, Wasim Memon, Darakhshan Kanwal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Erectile dysfunction (ED) can deeply affect a patient's quality of life. Therefore, it is not surprising that many men seek medical evaluation when they experience ED, especially now that it is almost universally known that effective oral medication is available. Radiological imaging in the field of erectile dysfunction has diminished in importance over the past 5 years with the advent of new therapies. However, in selected cases, Doppler scanning continues to have a role, and current research is aimed at optimizing the results of such tests. In addition, the new techniques of functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography scanning are beginning to offer new insights into the central mechanisms, which control erections.The principle role of imaging in patients with erectile dysfunction is to differentiate vascular and nonvascular causes. Colour doppler ultrasound is the cornerstone for making this differentiation. Other imaging modalities like angiography, conventional CT cavernosography, and cavernosometry. There is also an emerging role for MRI and nuclear medicine in the evaluation of ED. Functional imaging with positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography is capable of visualizing subtle changes in physiological function in vivo. Identification of neural substrates may provide information regarding the pathophysiology of types of sexual dysfunction originating in the brain. The importance of the functional imaging with PET and SPECT in the evaluations of the erectile dysfunction is currently under investigation. Recent developments in digital technology have allowed reconstructing virtual images using cross-sectional CT or MRI data. When visualizing arteries, conventional imaging techniques depend on blood flow, whereas using virtual cavernoscopy an artery can be visualized independently of blood flow. Virtual cavernoscopy is unique in this regard and we therefore believe that this new imaging technology will contribute to better ED practice. Clinical interpretation of data is critical to tailor treatment. This chapter will focus on the role of imaging for the diagnosis of ED and the clinical interpretation to devise a treatment strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationErectile Dysfunction
Subtitle of host publicationCauses, Risk Factors and Management
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781619423169
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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