If lifestyle or medical treatments haven’t cured erectile dysfunction, a penile implant or prosthesis can offer an alternative.
What are penile implants?
A penile implant or penile prosthesis is a surgical treatment option for men with erectile dysfunction (ED), a condition in which men have trouble getting or keeping an erection. A penile implant is used when ED is unlikely to improve or resolve naturally or with other types of treatment.
If other treatments have not been effective, a penile implant or prosthesis can offer a permanent solution to ED. They don’t affect sensation and have a very high success and satisfaction rate. There are two types of penile implants:
Made from two bendable silicone and metal rods, they provide the firmness needed for sex and can be bent down for urination.
Fluid-filled cylinders are placed in the penis which are joined to a pump in the scrotum (between the testicles). When pumped, the cylinders inflate and make the penis stiff.
Most (around 95%) inflatable prosthesis surgeries are successful, meaning the implants produce erections suitable for intercourse. Satisfaction rates are very high, with most men saying they would choose the surgery again.
As with all surgeries, there is a small risk of complications, including:
Under anesthesia, a small incision is made above or below the penis. As no tissue is removed and blood loss is limited, patients can usually go home the same day. Most men will feel pain during the first few days after surgery, so pain medication will be prescribed. There may be discomfort, bruising or swelling after surgery for a couple of weeks.
Physical activity should be limited for several weeks. Sex can usually resume after 8 weeks but if swelling or pain remains, using the implant may be delayed. If infection occurs, the implant will likely be removed, and other non-surgical treatments may no longer work.
Devices are usually reliable but over time, there may be a risk of device failure which would require another surgery for replacement.
There may be a small scar where the penis meets the scrotal sac, but no one else will be able to tell that a penile implant has been implanted.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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