Priapism is a persistent and often painful erection which may last as long as 4 hours. During this time, the shaft of the penis is rigid and inflexible, but the head of the penis (the glans) is usually soft. The penis is also painful or tender. Priapism is considered a medical emergency, which should receive treatment by a qualified medical practitioner. There are two types of priapism: low-flow and high-flow; 80% to 90% of clinically presented priapisms are low flow disorders. Low-flow involves the blood not adequately returning to the body from the penis. High-flow involves a short-circuit of the vascular system partway along the penis. Treatment is different for each type. Early treatment can be beneficial for a functional recovery.
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