Priapism is a pathological condition of penile erection that persists beyond, or is unrelated to, sexual stimulation. Pathologically and clinically, two subtypes are seen—the high flow (non-ischaemic) variety and the low flow (ischaemic) priapism. The low flow type is more dangerous, as these patients are susceptible to greater complications and the long term recovery of erectile function is dependent on prompt and urgent intervention. Many of the causes of priapism are medical, including pharmacological agents, and as such, priapism should be considered as a medical and surgical emergency.
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Conflicts of interest: none declared.