Peyronie’s disease is characterized by a plaque, or hard lump, that forms on the erection tissue of the penis. The plaque often begins as an inflammation that may develop into a fibrous tissue.
Peyronie’s disease was first described in 1743 by a French surgeon, François de la Peyronie. It was classified as a form of impotence. However, now impotence is recognized as one factor associated with Peyronie’s disease, but it is not always present.
Some researchers believe Peyronie’s disease develops following a trauma that causes bleeding inside the penis. This trauma may explain acute cases of Peyronie’s disease, but does not explain why most cases develop slowly, or what causes the disease after no apparent traumatic event.
Generally, when the disease heals within a year or so, the plaque does not advance beyond an initial inflammatory phase. However, when the disease lasts for years, the plaque often becomes a tough, fibrous tissue, and calcium deposits may form.