Penile Prosthesis (Implant)
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection suitable for sexual intercourse. A penile prosthesis, also know as a penile implant (or a device implanted inside the penis), is among the treatment options for men with ED. These devices are either malleable (bendable) or inflatable.
A penile implant is usually recommended when there is a clear medical cause for ED and when the problem is unlikely to improve naturally or with other medical treatments. Sometimes a penile prosthesis is implanted during surgery to reconstruct the penis when scarring has caused erections to curve (Peyronie's disease).
Patients with erectile dysfunction require diagnostic evaluations and treatments specific to their circumstances. Patient compliance, as well as patient and partner expectations, are important considerations in the choice of a particular treatment.
The physician can implant one of two types of penile devices:
- Malleable implant: This device consists of two rods that are placed in the erectile tissue (corpora cavernosa).
- Inflatable implant: This prosthesis involves a self-contained, fluid-filled system consisting of two cylinders placed in the penis. An inflatable implant comes in two or three piece models, including a reservoir and pump.
The primary difference between prosthesis types is that malleable implants produce a permanently firm penis, while the inflatable implants produce a controlled, more natural erection. With a malleable implant, the patient simply moves the penis into the desired position, and then back.
With an inflatable implant, the patient presses the pump button in the scrotum. The pump transfers fluid from the reservoir to the cylinders in the penis, inflating them and causing an erection. The patient can restore the penis to a flaccid state by pressing a deflation valve at the base of the pump, which returns the fluid to the reservoir.
Implants enable men with erectile dysfunction to have a satisfactory erection for sexual intercourse. You should still be able to have an orgasm with a penile implant if you were able to have one before the surgery.
Possible risks and complications:
No surgery is completely free of possible complications. Potential complications associated with penile implants include:
- Bleeding after the surgery
- Scar tissue formation
- Erosion (tissue around the implant may break down), requiring removal
- Mechanical failure leading to re-operation and removal
For more information on Penile Prosthesis visit WebMD's Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.