Priapism in children: Treatment with embolotherapy

Richard Towbin*, Peter Hurh, Kevin Baskin, Anne Marie Cahill, Michael Carr, Douglas Canning, Howard Snyder, Robin Kaye

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Priapism is defined as involuntary, prolonged penile erection caused by factors other than sexual arousal, and is classified as either low-flow or high-flow. Embolotherapy is an accepted form of therapy in adults with high-flow priapism. Because the differences in etiology, management and outcome are significant, accurate and timely diagnosis is imperative. Objective: The purpose of this report is to present our experience with embolotherapy for treatment of high-flow priapism in three children. Patients and methods: This was a retrospective study. During an 18-month period, three boys ranging in age from 6 to 15 years presented with priapism. All three children were treated with embolotherapy. Results: All three children were successfully treated with angiography and embolotherapy. One boy had a presentation that initially raised the possibility of low-flow priapism. No complications occurred, and to date all children are able to maintain normal erections. Conclusion: Subselective transcatheter embolization is the procedure of choice for high-flow priapism. In cases where priapism persists despite adequate therapy, angiography might be useful to exclude high-flow disease. In children with high-flow priapism, selective occlusion of the penile arteriovenous fistula led to detumescence and normal erectile function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-487
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Embolization
  • Pediatric
  • Priapism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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