Prior studies evaluating the efficacy of penile prostheses (PP) and intracavernosal injections (ICI) have focused predominantly on sexual function, not psychosocial health. We utilized the freelisting technique and the Self-Esteem and Relationship (SEAR) questionnaire to evaluate the impact of PP and ICI treatments on psychosocial functioning.
IRB-approval was obtained to perform an evaluation of patients who underwent PP or ICI treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED). Using a modified freelisting approach, participants were asked to give three one-word responses to questions about sexual function and relationships. Participants also completed the SEAR questionnaire and results were calculated based on the previously described formulas.
Fifty patients agreed to participate in the study (25 ICI, 25 PP). In the freelisting portion of the study, PP patients had more positive responses than ICI patients in 2 out of 3 questions. The freelisting study also identified important areas of concern for ED patients such as self-esteem, confidence, and treatment reliability. PP patients reported numerically higher SEAR total scores than ICI patients (63.9 vs. 53.9, p = 0.12), especially in confidence with duration of (p = 0.003), satisfaction with sexual performance (p = 0.06), and confidence with sexual performance (p = 0.02). SEAR confidence domain (p = 0.83), self-esteem subscale (p = 0.68), and overall relationship sub-scales (p = 0.90) were similar between PP and ICI patients.
PP appears to have a stronger psychosocial impact compared to ICI; however, both PP and ICI patients continue to struggle with self-esteem, confidence, and treatment reliability. Further patient counseling before and after treatment may help to address these concerns and improve patient satisfaction.