Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • Review Article
  • Published:

Nocturnal penile tumescence devices: past, present and future


Erectile function is an important part of men’s health that can significantly impact quality of life. Naturally occurring nighttime erections experienced by men throughout their lifespan provides insight into penile health as well as overall health. Nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) and nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity (NPTR) devices that can non-invasively evaluate the presence and quality of erections can have valuable diagnostic and clinical utility. Early devices have several limitations that limit their current use. New, wearable devices have promising applications for the evaluation of erectile function over time. Continued advancements in this technology have the potential to render future generations of these devices as invaluable tools that are useful for both men and healthcare professionals.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Past, Present and Future Devices.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Burnett AL, Nehra A, Breau RH, Culkin DJ, Faraday MM, Hakim LS, et al. Erectile dysfunction: AUA guideline. J Urol. 2018;200:633–41.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Aserinsky E, Kleitman N. Regularly occurring periods of eye motility, and concomitant phenomena, during sleep. Science. 1953;118:273–4.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Fisher C, Gorss J, Zuch J. Cycle of penile erection synchronous with dreaming (REM) sleep: preliminary report. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1965;12:29–45.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Licht MR, Lewis RW, Wollan PC, Harris CD. Comparison of RigiScan and sleep laboratory nocturnal penile tumescence in the diagnosis of organic impotence. J Urol. 1995;154:1740–3.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Qin F, Gao L, Qian S, Fu F, Yang Y, Yuan J. Advantages and limitations of sleep-related erection and rigidity monitoring: a review. Int J Impot Res. 2018;30:192–201.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Levine LA, Lenting EL. Use of nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity in the evaluation of male erectile dysfunction. Urol Clin North Am. 1995;22:775–88.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Leliefeld HH, Mühr S. Erectile impotence-clinical experience with the phalloplethysmography. Urol Int. 1982;37:257–66.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Barry JM, Blank B, Boileau M. Nocturnal penile tumescence monitoring with stamps. Urology. 1980;15:171–2.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Bertini J, Boileau MA. Evaluation of nocturnal penile tumescence with PotenTest. Urology. 1986;27:492–4.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Ek A, Bradley WE, Krane RL. Snap-gauge band: new concept in measuring penile rigidity. Urology. 1983;21:63.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Allen R, Brendler CB. Snap-gauge compared to a full nocturnal penile tumescence study for evaluation of patients with erectile impotence. J Urol. 1990;143:51–4.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Morales A, Marshall PG, Surridge DH, Fenemore J. A new device for diagnostic screening of nocturnal penile tumescence. J Urol. 1983;129:288–90.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Suzuki K, Sato Y, Horita H, Adachi H, Kato R, Hisasue S, et al. The correlation between penile tumescence measured by the erectometer and penile rigidity by the RigiScan. Int J Urol. 2001;8:594–8.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Bradley WE, Timm GW, Gallagher JM, Johnson BK. New method for continuous measurement of nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity. Urology. 1985;26:4–9.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Jannini EA, Granata AM, Hatzimouratidis K, Goldstein I. Use and abuse of Rigiscan in the diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. J Sex Med. 2009;6:1820–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Levine LA, Carroll RA. Nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity in men without complaints of erectile dysfunction using a new quantitative analysis software. J Urol. 1994;152:1103–7.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Konstantinidis C. Erectile dysfunction in paraplegic males. Erectile Dysfunction—Disease-Associated Mechanisms and Novel Insights into Therapy. Rijeka, Croatia: InTech; 2012.

  18. Karadeniz T, Topsakal M, Aydogmus A, Beksan M. Role of RigiScan in the etiologic differential diagnosis of erectile dysfunction. Urol Int. 1997;59:41–5.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Elhanbly S, Elkholy A, Elbayomy Y, Elsaid M, Abdel-gaber S. Nocturnal penile erections: the diagnostic value of tumescence and rigidity activity units. Int J Impot Res. 2009;21:376–81.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Zhang Y, Zhang Z, Zhang N. Role of RigiScan parameters in differentiation of vascular erectile dysfunction. Andrologia. 2020;52:e13620.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Zou Z, Lin H, Zhang Y, Wang R. The role of nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity (NPTR) monitoring in the diagnosis of psychogenic erectile dysfunction: a review. Sex Med Rev. 2019;7:442–54.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Udelson D, Park K, Sadeghi-Nejad H, Salimpour P, Krane RJ, Goldstein I. Axial penile buckling forces vs Rigiscan radial rigidity as a function of intracavernosal pressure: why Rigiscan does not predict functional erections in individual patients. Int J Impot Res. 1999;11:327–37.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Mizuno I, Komiya A, Watanabe A, Fuse H. Importance of axial penile rigidity in objective evaluation of erection quality in patients with erectile dysfunction-comparison with radial rigidity. Urol Int. 2010;84:194–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. Edgar R, Trip EJ, Wolterink GJW, Veltink PH, Beck JJH. New methods for the monitoring of nocturnal erections. Int J Impot Res. 2022;34:1–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Pressman MR, DiPhillipo MA, Kendrick JI, Conroy K, Fry JM. Problems in the interpretation of nocturnal penile tumescence studies: disruption of sleep by occult sleep disorders. J Urol. 1986;136:595–8.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Hirshkowitz M, Karacan I, Howell JW, Arcasoy MO, Williams RL. Nocturnal penile tumescence in cigarette smokers with erectile dysfunction. Urology. 1992;39:101–7.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Knoll LD, Abrams JH. Application of nocturnal electrobioimpedance volumetric assessment: a feasibility study in men without erectile dysfunction. J Urol. 1999;161:1137–40.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Konstantinidis CV, Alexandrou S, Alexandrou M, Raheem AA. Adam sensor: a novel nocturnal tumescence wearable device—technology overview & applications. J Sex Med. 2022;19:S133–4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. FirmTech Inc. Male Enhancement Erection Band | Penoscrotal & Constriction Rings [Internet]. FirmTech. 2023. Available from:

  30. Choi S, Kim S, Seo J, Park JY, Yoon S. Wearable and wireless measurement system for evaluating penile tumescence. 2015 IEEE Biomedical Circuits and Systems Conference (BioCAS), IEEE; 2015;1–4.

  31. Matsumoto S, Takeuchi Y. A prototyping of penile tumescence continuous observation device. Adv Biomed Eng Med Phys. 2020;9:167–71.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Heo Y, Kim J, Cha C, Shin K, Roh J, Jo J. Wearable E-Textile and CNT Sensor Wireless Measurement System for Real-Time Penile Erection Monitoring. Sensors. 2021;22:231.

  33. Sng CMN, Wee LMC, Tang KC, Lee KCJ, Wu QH, Yeo JC, et al. Wearable Soft Microtube Sensors for Quantitative Home-Based Erectile Dysfunction Monitoring. Sensors. 2022;22:9344.

  34. Kaneko S, Mizunaga M, Yachiku S, Yamaguchi O, Omata S. Clinical applicability of a new tactile sensor for evaluating rigidity of the penis: a comparative study with Rigiscan. Int J Urol. 1996;3:379–82.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Sahatiya P, Puttapati SK, Srikanth VVSS, Badhulika S. Graphene-based wearable temperature sensor and infrared photodetector on a flexible polyimide substrate. Flex Print Electron. 2016;1:025006.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



Both authors were involved in all aspects of this publication, including designing the work that led to the submission, acquiring data, interpreting the results, drafting or revising the manuscript and approving the final version.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jessica Nicole Schardein.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Schardein, J.N., Gross, K. Nocturnal penile tumescence devices: past, present and future. Int J Impot Res (2023).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI:


Quick links