Penile Implants Overview
We really mean it when we say, “If you have a penis, we can get you an erection!” Fortunately, non-surgical methods are great at getting men great erections, that they can maintain, so penile implants are rarely needed. Oral medications work for most men, when taken properly, and are inexpensive. Penile injections do not hurt and give most men amazingly rigid and easily sustained erections. Additionally, we now have two options available that rehabilitate the penis using Shockwave Therapy and Regenerative Cell Therapy.
For some men with serious “trapping issues”, meaning they cannot retain the blood in the penis, a penile implant or prosthesis is the answer. Placement of a prosthesis was the first treatment for erectile dysfunction, and is still used when non- surgical methods have failed.
Today, most prostheses are inflatable. They consist of a closed system filled with saline. There is a reservoir that holds most of the fluid when you don’t want to be erect. It is hidden under your abdominal muscles or, occasionally, in your scrotum. There is a pump placed in your scrotum which you can feel and manipulate through the scrotal skin painlessly. When you want an erection, you literally pump the fluid from the hidden reservoir to the cylinders in the erection chambers, giving yourself an erection. Your orgasm and sensation will be the same. When you no longer need/desire the erection, you press a valve on the pump and then gently squeeze the penis. This transfers the fluid out of the penile cylinders and back into the reservoir.
All of the pieces can be placed through one small incision, which is either in the scrotum, or right above the pubic bone, in the middle. None of the pieces are visible. The surgery, when done by an expert with a lot of experience, is quite short. It is done in an operating room and many physicians keep their patients in the hospital overnight, though some discharge them home the day of the surgery.
Advantages of a Penile Prosthesis
The implant is well hidden. It is quick to pump up, offering spontaneity. The erection is quite good for most men, though some complain of shortening of the penis. The sensation during intercourse should be exactly the same as it always had been.
Disadvantages of a Penile Prosthesis
Getting the prosthesis involves an operation. It is successful for most men. However the most common complications are infections and malfunctions. The prosthesis is a “foreign body” and if it gets infected, a ‘goopy’ layer of bacteria and its by-products surrounds the prosthesis and prevents antibiotics from getting in. This makes it virtually impossible to treat without removing and replacing the prosthesis. A small percentage of implants malfunction over the years and need to be replaced.
Who should get a Penile Prosthesis?
In our opinion, men should at least try ALL of the other non-surgical methods before getting a penile prosthesis. In medicine, when deciding on treatment, we usually start from least invasive options and move to more invasive options, as necessary. ED is no exception to that rule.
Some urologists who are experts at placement of penile implants, go almost immediately to this treatment, before thoroughly exploring other non-surgical options. (If you are a hammer everything is a nail!)
We have been successful with non-surgical options with the vast majority of our patients, even if they had failed treatment elsewhere. Here are a few of the non-surgical treatment options we offer:
Contact us for more information, a free phone consultation or to schedule an appointment.
Last updated: June 2023