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What is a vacuum erection device?

The vacuum erection device (VED), is a cylinder-shaped device that comes with a rubber or silicon constrictive ring that tightens around the penis. A VED makes it possible to get and maintain an erection.

When should I consider a VED?

You should consider a VED if PDE5Is are not effective. A VED is also an alternative treatment option if you cannot use PDE5Is or if you do not want to take medication for ED.

How does a VED work?

By placing the cylinder over your penis, you create a vacuum with a manual or an electronic pump which removes the air from the cylinder. This process draws blood into the penis so that it gets swollen and then erect.

After removing the pump you need to place the rubber or silicon ring around the base of the penis, to keep an erection. Never leave the ring on for more than 30 minutes.

It is important to be aware that the blood drawn into the penis is dark in colour. As a result, your penis feels colder to the touch and looks slightly blue once the band is in place. Some people do not mind, but if this makes you or your partner uncomfortable, make sure to discuss your concern with each other, and your doctor.

It is very important to know that the ring should be removed after 30 minutes. The blood drawn into the penis is low in oxygen, and the lack of oxygen can damage the skin in the penis.

If you choose to use a constrictive ring without a VED, make sure that it is made of flexible material like silicone or rubber. Never use rigid materials such as steel or hard plastic because they may be difficult to remove.

Fig. 1: A common type of vacuum erection device (VED).
Fig. 1: A common type of vacuum erection device (VED).

When is the VED not recommended?

VEDs are not recommended if you take medication to prevent blood clotting, or if you have a bleeding disorder.

What are the side effects of VEDs?

VEDs can cause some discomfort, difficulty with ejaculation during orgasm, bruising of the skin of the penis, and numbness. Leaving the constrictive ring for more than 30 minutes can cause severe skin damage to the penis.