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Finally, there is a cure for erectile dysfunction

Approximately 70% of erection problems are caused by blockages of arteries to the penis; a result of smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity. Addressing these issues is essential to prevent further blockages. In some cases a return to regular cardio exercise; for example, walking, jogging, swimming or cycling, and weight loss, can actually improve erections.

Since 1998 drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra have helped men to achieve satisfactory erections by temporarily opening up the penile blood vessels long enough to allow a firm erection for satisfactory sex. Unfortunately these medications do not treat the cause and they can have unpleasant side effects. They can also become less effective over time. The alternatives have been injections into the penis before sex or a penile implant.

Until recently practitioners have had no effective treatment for the source of the problem, only the symptoms. Now a new and exciting treatment will be available soon at the WA Sexual Health Centre (Perth). 

We will be able to offer Low-Intensity Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (LI-ESWT) with a second-generation Renova Linear Shockwave Therapy (LSWT) machine; the first in Australia. Renova LSWT offers a significant improvement over the first generation machines.

Low-intensity extracorporeal shockwave therapy has been shown to greatly improve erection problems by stimulating new blood vessel growth to the penis. In 70–80% of men there is a significant improvement in erectile function. Some men no longer need to use medication to achieve erections and for others, the medications begin to work again. The treatment consists of applying a transducer (similar to an ultrasound) onto the skin (in four areas of the groin and penis) for four 20-minute sessions over four weeks. The procedure takes place in a doctor’s surgery with no pain and no anaesthetic.

One half of those who do not respond satisfactorily to the first treatment will respond to a further four weeks of treatment.

One half of all men treated will notice the effect reduces over 1–2 years and will require further treatments.

The Pros  This treatment is effective in treating 80% of men, so they either no longer need to take medication before sex, or the previously ineffective medication becomes effective again.

The men who get the best results are those with low to moderate ED severity and where the onset is within the past 5–10 years. Patients whose erectile problem has occurred in association with diabetes also respond well to treatment.

The treatment causes absolutely no discomfort and no side effects.

The Cons  This treatment is in the early stages of validation. It has been used in Europe and other parts of the world for about five years with consistently good results, however, large and long-term studies are required to completely validate
the treatment.

The treatment is expensive ($1950) for the initial four sessions. Medicare and Private Health funds do not provide a rebate at this time. The screening medical evaluation ($195) has a partial Medicare rebate. This consult is essential to establish your suitability for the treatment and to ensure all other causes of erection problems are fully treated.

So far LI-ESWT has only been shown to work in patients with penile arterial blockage. Studies have commenced to see if it does work for other types of erectile dysfunction including after prostate cancer surgery.

For more information please go to or back to the WA Sexual Health Centre website.

As a doctor with over 40 years’ experience I am committed to practice medicine with integrity and to treat my patients with respect. This is why I cannot give guarantees that LI-ESWT will provide a solution for all patients. The technology has been successfully used with positive results for about 5 years. It is on the basis of these results that our clinic has taken the initiative to make the treatment available in Western Australia.

If you have any queries, or would like updates, please contact Dr David Millar by email at:

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