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Penile Prosthesis

A penile implant is an option for men with erectile dysfunction that does not respond to medications or other treatments, or for men with Peyronie’s disease.

Overview

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or sustain an erection for sexual intercourse. A penile prosthesis, also known as a penile implant, is a surgical treatment option for men with ED.

Click the sections above to learn more.

Cause

A penile implant is usually a solution for patients with a clear medical cause for ED and when the problem is unlikely to improve naturally or with other treatments or medications. Sometimes a penile prosthesis is implanted during surgery to reconstruct the penis when scarring has caused erections to curve (Peyronie’s disease).

Diagnosis

A physician will perform a physical exam and a psychosocial evaluation to determine stress levels. A series of tests include:

  • Blood test: To detect abnormal hormone levels, thyroid levels or cholesterol levels.
  • Urinalysis: To provide a reading of protein and sugar in the urine. Abnormal measurements of these substances can indicate diabetes or kidney disease, which can cause ED.
  • Ultrasound: To take images of the body’s tissues and evaluate blood flow.

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: A self-contained, fluid-filled system composed of two cylinders. An inflatable implant comes in two- or three-piece models, including a reservoir and pump.

Malleable implants produce a permanently firm penis, while the inflatable implants produce a controlled, more natural erection. Using a malleable implant, the patient can simply move the penis into the desired position.

With an inflatable implant, the patient presses a 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 satisfactory erections for sexual activity. Men with implants should still be able to have orgasms if they were able to before the surgery.

Learn more about our work in prosthetics in this blog by Dr. Kevin Campbell.

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