A vacuum pump is manual device that makes blood flow into the penis to help men get an erection. It can be used alone, or in combination with drugs, to help men get erections back after surgery for prostate cancer.
Surgery for prostate cancer can damage the nerves that control erections. Starting treatment for erections soon after surgery may help men get their erections back. This is called penile rehabilitation. Treatment could be taking a low-dose of a drug called a PDE5 inhibitor once a day or using a vacuum pump, or sometimes both together. This treatment along with masturbation encourages blood flow to the penis. Starting treatment soon after surgery may help improve a man’s chance of getting and keeping an erection. But it may not work for every man.
The vacuum pump may help men get an erection hard enough for penetration. It may also help maintain the length and thickness of the penis if used daily within four to eight weeks after surgery.
A vacuum pump can be used even if the nerves that control erections have been removed during surgery.
Prostate Cancer UK wants all men after prostate cancer treatment to have access to a Vacuum Erection Device (VED) if deemed medically appropriate in order to increase the chances of men getting and maintaining an erection.