Penile Implants Overview
The earliest treatment for erectile dysfunction, and one still frequently used, is placement of a penile implant. The technique involves placing cylinders in the two erection chambers of the penis. When they are inflated or bent upwards, they allow a man to have a rigid penis. Originally, they consisted of bendable rods put into the erection chambers. However, they have developed significantly since that time.
Today most prosthesis 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.
The surgery, when done by an expert with a lot of experience, is quite short. It is done in the hospital. Most physicians keep their patients in the hospital overnight, though some discharge them home the day of the surgery. 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.
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 will 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, it is virtually impossible to treat without removing and replacing the prosthesis. A ‘goopy’ layer of bacteria and its by-products surrounds the prosthesis and prevent antibiotics from getting in. 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.
Here are a few of the non-surgical treatment options to try:
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Last updated: April 2019