Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a buzzword in the beauty and aesthetics industries these days, with its restorative and regenerative properties being used to treat everything from hair loss and fine lines and wrinkles to muscle and joint injuries. One of the more discreet uses for PRP? The so-called P-Shot, which involves injecting PRP into the penis to improve function for patients with or without erectile dysfunction (ED).
What Is P-Shot?
The P-Shot is an injection of platelet-rich plasma into the penis. “P-Shot works for stimulation, vitality, and making people have harder erections,” says Jason Emer, MD, a board certified cosmetic dermatologist in West Hollywood. “PRP is used for rejuvenation, for healing purposes, for stimulating growth factors that help in the repair process, for collagen production. You want the erectile tissue to be healthier — that’s why you are feeding it the PRP nutrients.”
While the P-Shot rose to fame as an experimental treatment for erectile dysfunction, Dr. Emer says it appeals to men in general. “The majority of my patients are younger and want to have a better sex life,” he explains. “Just like they work the muscles of their body, they want to work the penis by providing nutrients to it to keep it healthy.”
One of the most well known versions of the treatment is the Priapus Shot®, which was coined by Charles Runels, MD — the same doctor that popularized the vampire facial with Kim Kardashian and the O-Shot (i.e. PRP injections into the clitoris and vaginal walls). Although it’s an increasingly common treatment option, there remains a lack of research into the use of PRP for men’s sexual health.
How Does P-Shot Work?
Like a PRP treatment used for other aesthetic and therapeutic treatments, the procedure involves taking a blood sample from the body (usually the arm or some other non-invasive locale) and putting it into a centrifuge to isolate the platelet-rich plasma. While the PRP solution can be applied topically, this treatment requires it be injected into the penile shaft.
When it comes time for the injections, Dr. Emer says the area is numbed for about 15 minutes with a topical anesthetic. The PRP is then injected into multiple areas of the penis, including the head and specific parts of the shaft. “There is very minimal pain,” he says. “They almost don’t feel it at all.” Since patients are already in the office, Dr. Emer will often recommend pairing P-Shot with PRP for hair loss. If a patient is in for a laser treatment, he’ll use any leftover solution on the affected area. “I’ll do their P-Shot at the same time I’ll do a laser, and I’ll apply some of the PRP topically to help it heal,” he notes.
Side effects of P-Shot include bruising and swelling at the injection sites, which should subside in a few days. Dr. Emer recommends patients wait 24 hours before having sex or masturbating because of the swelling.
Best Candidates for P-Shot
“I haven’t really seen anyone who is not a candidate,” Dr. Emer says of P-Shot, though it may need to be combined with other treatments to be effective. “If people have prostate issues, psychological erectile dysfunction, or other things that are not related to functional use of, it may be that the underlying cause needs to be treated more than the actual tissue,” he shares.
P-Shot Treatment Plans
At one point, PRP injections were performed as a solo procedure. Patients started with three treatments in a three-month span, before returning for every two to three months for maintenance. Today, P-Shot is rarely done alone. “Now we use ACell® to help stimulate more,” Dr. Emer says. “It makes the cells revive, whereas the PRP feeds them nutrients.”
Combining P-Shot and shockwave therapy is another popular duo. Devices like GAINSWave® utilize vibratory stimulation to cause microtrauma to the penis that leads to increased blood flow and tissue viability in the area. “It’s mainly for people who have erectile dysfunction, true non-functioning problems,” Dr. Emer says. “Although, I do have guys that just love it.” Shockwave therapy usually involves six to eight weekly treatments, followed by once or twice a month maintenance.
Other “down under” rejuvenation procedures at Dr. Emer’s practice include chemical peels to treat hyperpigmentation, filler and fat injections to increase size, and Botox® to combat sweating and relax the muscles. “I created a peel called Aerify, which is being used right now by guys on their penis, their scrotum, their groin area, and their buttock and anus area for pigmentation and brightening,” he explains. “I am also seeing a lot of guys wanting filler and Botox® in this area.”
We spoke to one patient who underwent P-Shot and GAINSWave® as a treatment for ED, which he experienced as a side effect of another long-term medical condition. The procedures have had a big impact on his quality of life.
The AEDITION: How did you find out about the procedures?
John: I spoke to my primary care physician about concerns I was having relating to ED. After being referred to a urologist, I ended up finding out about P-Shot initially. I did a whole bunch of research — it felt easier to ask Dr. Google embarrassing questions when I first began looking into treatment options. Once I figured out that it was something I definitely wanted to do, I found a registered practitioner who’d gone through the full training program, not only with regards to the actual procedure itself but also with the aftercare. He also knew about options regarding combining treatments. That’s when he explained the results achieved with a combination of P-Shot and GAINSWave® were promising for people with my symptoms. We agreed on a treatment plan and got started as soon as he had availability.
The AEDITION: How did the results from the procedures compare to your expectations?
John: To be honest, it was quite difficult to find out exactly what to expect by researching online. I got a clearer idea from my doctor who specializes in the two treatments. He explained to me which parts of my expectations, or hopes, were achievable and which would not be. We were able to increase both length and girth, which wasn’t my primary aim. I was more concerned about the loss of sensation. That improved so much too, which I was so relieved about. It’s life-altering. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it is.
The AEDITION: Do you have any advice for other men who are considering the procedures?
John: Don’t be ashamed of needing to seek help. It’s extremely common — way more so than I ever imagined. Don’t be afraid of talking to doctors about it. You can use the language you want to, if you don’t want to be very direct or if it makes you uncomfortable. They’ll understand. I would also strongly recommend finding a doctor who is informed not only about the procedure, but also about the aftercare. P-Shot comes with a whole set of aftercare recommendations that are super important, so make sure your doctor works with that and you have a good understanding of what is involved.
Performed alone or in tandem with procedures, P-Shot can improve penile function for those with erectile dysfunction or those simply looking to improve their sexual health. Due to a lack of research into the experimental therapies, consulting with a board certified provider who has experience treating the genital area is of the utmost importance.
*Patient name has been changed
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