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Anesthetic block of the dorsal penile nerve inhibits vibratory-Induced ejaculation in men with spinal cord injuries

      Abstract

      Objectives. We investigated which nerve pathways are necessary to achieve ejaculation using penile vibratory stimulation (PVS) in men with spinal cord injury (SCI).
      Methods. Eight men with SCI were selected based on the presence of a bulbocavernosus reflex (BCR) and consistent antegrade ejaculation with PVS. Level of injury was cervical (4), upper thoracic (4), and lower thoracic (1). Mean age was 30.4 years (range 22 to 38). Usual responses to PVS included autonomic dysreflexia (4), erection (4), and consistent somatic responses such as abdominal contractions (8). Local anesthesia of the dorsal penile nerves (penile block) was achieved using 1% plain lidocaine injection. Effective penile block was confirmed by loss of the BCR. Two PVS ejaculation trials were performed: one trial during the penile block and one trial when the penile block had worn off. In 4 subjects, the bladder contents were analyzed for retrograde ejaculation.
      Results. With the penile block, ejaculation was inhibited in 100% of the subjects. None of the bladder washings demonstrated sperm, indicating absence of retrograde ejaculation. None of the subjects exhibited their usual erectile response, somatic responses, or signs of autonomic dysreflexia. After the penile block wore off, PVS induced ejaculation in all subjects. If subjects usually had erection, somatic responses, or signs of autonomic dysreflexia, these also returned.
      Conclusions. Our data suggest that ejaculatory response to PVS in SCI men requires the presence of intact dorsal penile nerves.
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