Injury-induced erectile dysfunction could soon be a thing of the past

Erectile dysfunction - Image Antonio Guillem /

Injury-induced erectile dysfunction could be a thing of the past after Chinese scientists developed a fibrous sheath of tissue that effectively replaces the damaged areas of a man´s penis.

The prosthetic or artificial tunica albuginea (ATA) was announced to the world on Wednesday, January 4 after successful trials using pigs. Based on water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) the ATA has a similar curled structure to a man´s natural organ.

Co-author Dr Xuetao Shi, of the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, said: “We largely foresaw the problems and results of the ATA construction process. But we were still surprised by the results in the animal experiments, where the penis regained normal erection immediately after the use of ATA.

“The greatest advantage is that it achieves tissue-like functions by mimicking the microstructure of natural tissues.”

Erectile dysfunction ATA – Image South China University of Technology

The sheath does not replace erectile dysfunction caused by mental issues although it can be used under those circumstances. Instead, it was designed to assist those who had suffered burns, scarring or injury.

Dr Shi said that scientists had focused on fixing the urethra using patches, but these were often problematic being rejected by the body. Lab tests showed the sheath, described in the journal Matter, is not toxic to other tissues and blood.

That is important in that it is potentially a long-term solution.

Testing the sheath involved working with pigs given their similarity to humans. The test pigs were fitted with the sheath which the found behaved in much the same way as normal tissue.

Dr Shi added: “The results one month after the procedure showed the ATA group achieved good, though not perfect, repair results.”

He continued saying: “Our work at this stage focuses on the repair of a single tissue in the penis.

“The next stage will be to consider the repair of the overall penile defect or the construction of an artificial penis from a holistic perspective.”

Dr Shi and his research team plan to investigate the development of similar materials to aid with the repair of other organs including the heart and bladder.

He finished by saying that the material can replace most load-bearing tissue, as in this case helping with injury-induced erectile dysfunction.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]