Vacuum Erection Devices: What You Should Know

Andrew Siegel MD   11/14/2020

The vacuum erection device (VED), a.k.a. penis pump, is one of the older treatments for ED. When the penis is placed in such a negative pressure environment, an influx of blood into the erectile chambers results in penile expansion and erection. The VED is an effective means of achieving erectile rigidity in men with diabetes, spinal cord injury or after prostatectomy.  Additionally, it is useful in the post-prostatectomy period to maintain penile dimensions and tissue integrity.  It is sometimes used for tissue expansion purposes prior to penile prosthesis implant surgery to facilitate the placement of the largest possible prosthesis.


Tissue expansion occurs in response to internal or external forces. The VED is a form of external tissue expansion that uses negative pressures to cause influx of blood into the erectile chambers and induce an erection. Furthermore, it results in increased tissue oxygenation, activation of tissue nutrient factors and mobilization of stem cells, all of which helps prevent tissue scarring and preserves/helps restore penile anatomy and function.  

Side note: There are many non-medical grade sex toy penis pumps for sale on the Internet (as well as nipple and clitoris pumps) that all share the principle of using vacuum suction to cause influx of blood and tissue expansion.


There are numerous VEDs on the market, which have in common a cylinder chamber with one end closed off, a vacuum pump and a constriction ring.  The penis is inserted into the cylinder chamber and an erection is induced by a vacuum (either a hand pump or a battery-powered pump) that creates negative pressures and sucks blood into the erectile chambers. To maintain the erection after the vacuum is released, a constriction ring is applied to the base of the penis. The result is a rigid penis capable of penetrative intercourse.

Spartan VED. Visit the Urology Health Store for a nice selection of VEDs:

These devices are also available through Private Gym.


The VED is prepared by placing a constriction ring over the open end of the cylinder. A water-soluble lubricant is applied to the base of the penis to achieve a tight seal when the penis is placed into the cylinder.  The pump is engaged to generate negative pressures within the cylinder, which pulls blood into the penis, causing fullness and ultimately rigidity. Once full rigidity is achieved, the constriction ring is manipulated off the cylinder onto the base of the penis, the vacuum is released and the penis removed from the cylinder.  


The VED is beneficial insofar as it is a simple mechanical treatment that does not require pills or surgery.  It can be used to enhance the speed and extent of sexual recovery after prostatectomy, minimize any decrease in penile length and girth that may occur, and enable achievement of a rigid erection suitable for sexual intercourse. Clinical studies have clearly demonstrated that VED use after prostatectomy helps preserve penile dimensions.


Disadvantages are the unwieldy nature of the preparation process and the need for preparation time, which impairs spontaneity.  Another disadvantage is the need for applying vacuum forces to the penis, which can be uncomfortable as the penis expands and inflates. The application of the constriction ring will mechanically impair ejaculation and can cause penile “hinging.”  Other possible side effects are discomfort, pain, coolness, numbness, altered sensation, engorgement of the penile head and bruising. The constriction ring should never be left on for more than 30 minutes. After sex is completed, the constriction ring must be removed.  Despite disadvantages, the VED can be a useful tool for men not interested in pills or surgery and particularly helpful in the penile rehabilitation process following prostatectomy.  

Wishing you the best of health,

2014-04-23 20:16:29

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Dr. Andrew Siegel is a physician and urological surgeon who is board-certified in urology as well as in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.  He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School and is a Castle Connolly Top Doctor New York Metro Area, Inside Jersey Top Doctor and Inside Jersey Top Doctor for Women’s Health. His mission is to “bridge the gap” between the public and the medical community. He is a urologist at New Jersey Urology, the largest urology practice in the United States.  Today’s entry is excerpted from his latest book, Prostate Cancer 20/20: A Practical Guide to Understanding Management Options for Patients and Their Families. 

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Video trailer for Prostate Cancer 20/20

Preview of Prostate Cancer 20/20

Andrew Siegel MD Amazon author page

PROSTATE CANCER 20/20: A Practical Guide to Understanding Management Options for Patients and Their Families is now on sale at Audible, iTunes and Amazon as an audiobook read by the author (just over 6 hours). 

Dr. Siegel’s other books:

FINDING YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Health, Wellness, Fitness and Longevity

PROMISCUOUS EATING— Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

MALE PELVIC FITNESS: Optimizing Sexual and Urinary Health

THE KEGEL FIX: Recharging Female Pelvic, Sexual, and Urinary Health


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One Response to “Vacuum Erection Devices: What You Should Know”

  1. Penile “Rehab” to Hasten Recovery After Prostatectomy | Our Greatest Wealth Is Health Says:

    […] to recovery of both erections and urinary control. The other penile rehab methods include penile injection therapy, vacuum erection devices and penile vibration therapy. The best and most reliable alternatives for […]

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