Role of penile electrodermal activity in the evaluation of autonomic innervation of corpus cavernosum

A Soylu, U Yilmaz, C Ozcan, M Sarier, C Baydinc
International Journal of Impotence Research 2004, 16 (6): 535-9
Electrodiagnostic tests measuring the activities of cavernous smooth muscle and sudomotor structures of penile skin are used in order to evaluate autonomic innervation of the penis. Owing to closeness of these tissues, the interference of sympathetic activity during recording is a possibility. In this study, we investigated this possibility in 10 patients whose cavernosal tissues were destroyed during penile prosthesis implantation by comparing the pre- and postoperative penile skin electrodermal activities. Penile electrodermal activities were recorded with surface electrodes before and after the operation. All of the patients had spontaneous and evoked penile electrodermal activity (EDA). The mean amplitude of evoked EDA decreased from 2159+/-700 to 1413+/-515 microV following penile prosthesis surgery (P=0.017). The decrease in the amplitude of penile-evoked EDA following penile prosthesis implantation suggests the contribution of cavernous smooth muscle activity to the sudomotor responses prior to operation. Although corpus cavernosum sympathetic activity contributes to the penile skin recordings, these recordings are mostly the result of penile skin sudomotor sympathetic activity. Therefore, surface potentials recorded from penile skin should not be used for the evaluation of autonomic innervation of corpus cavernosum.

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