Copper wire therapy might be a viable way to treat cavernous hemangiomas of the penis, Chinese researchers report.
A cavernous hemangioma is a buildup of blood vessels. Such lesions are benign and uncommon. Scientists are not certain what causes them. A man with a hemangioma on his penis may feel anxious about its size and how it looks cosmetically.
A variety of treatments are available for cavernous hemangiomas, but each has its drawbacks. For example, surgical excision can damage other tissue. Cryotherapy (freezing tissue so that it can be removed) is another option, but patients can lose a large amount of blood. It also takes a significant amount of time to heal and there is a risk of necrosis (cell death) in surrounding areas.
The researchers noted the need for alternative methods for treating cavernous hemangiomas. After learning about copper wire and needle treatments for similar conditions, they decided to try the therapy with a small group of men.
They worked with seven patients with penile cavernous hemangiomas. The patients ranged in age from 12 to 32. The largest lesion was 4 x 2 cm.
Surgeons used indwelling copper wires that were 10 cm long and 0.2 mm in diameter. Each piece of wire had its lacquer covering removed and was sterilized. Patients were given local anesthesia. The copper wires were distributed evenly through the hemangiomas with a surgical suture needle.
After the procedure, the penises were dressed with elastic bandages. The patients were given oral antibiotics to prevent infection. When swelling dissipated, the copper wires were removed.
On average, the operation lasted 16.4 minutes. Copper wires remained for a mean of 12.3 days and patients stayed in the hospital for a mean of 6.7 days. After the wires were removed, healing took about one to two weeks. All visible lesions disappeared. All of the patients were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the results.
Two months after surgery, one patient had a recurrence. He underwent a second procedure and had no problems after that.
The authors acknowledged that copper poisoning is one complication of this treatment. However, none of the patients had reactions to the copper.
They also acknowledged that because of the small sample size, the lack of a control group, and little previous research on the subject, they could not call the therapy a “therapeutic reference standard.”
However, they considered copper wire therapy to be a safe, simple, cost-effective, and minimally invasive technique for treating penile cavernous hemangioma.
The study was published online in October in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Zhang, Dong, MD, et al.
“A Creative Therapy in Treating Cavernous Hemangioma of Penis with Copper Wire”
(Full-text. First published online: October 9, 2013)