Advances in medical technology and understanding how penile erections work have been at the core of the development of effective treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED). In the past few years, notable events have been made by introducing inflatable penile prosthesis that made artificial, rigid erections possible. 

The prevalence of penile implant prosthetics continues to increase even with oral medications for erectile dysfunction such as intracavernosal vasoactive drugs1. It has maintained its position as a preferred option as more patients turn to implants as a permanent option for this problem. 

Non-Inflatable Penile prosthesis

This type of penile implant is also referred to as a malleable or semi-rigid penile prosthesis. This implant is essentially a set of two rods made out of silicone or spiral wire often encased in a polyurethane material. These types of penile implants were introduced in 1975 and have set the path for new developments in improving the malleable implant prosthetics2

Among the most commonly used types are the Coloplast Genesis and the AMS 600 Spectra penile implants. These semi-rigid implants are designed to stay concealed whenever they aren’t being used. When it comes to sexual activity, they can be rigid enough to perform as they are expected. 

This prosthesis later got some enhancements with the incorporation of Dacron for reinforcing the silicon structure. Later on, the core was further improved to incorporate a silver wire to help with bending upwards or downwards and a firmer construction for added rigidity.

Inflatable Penile Prosthetics

This type of implant got quite close to emulating a typical erection with two cylinders directly connected to another pumping cylinder. Further advancements led to the development of three types of inflatable penile prosthetics; single-piece, two-piece, and three-piece inflatable implants.

Single-Piece Inflatable Penile Implant

This prosthesis consists of a pair of hydraulic cylinders with a chamber system that extends to the inner pore. It has dual girth widths with different lengths and attachable tip extensions. As the years passed, the single-piece implant was improved to incorporate an additional proximal end with deflatable distal ends allowing for the inflow of fluid into the center core. Soon, this type of implant was replaced by another with several channels that run through from the reservoir to the pump sections hence offering more rigidity3. After deflating, the device becomes flaccid.

Two-Piece Inflatable Implant

This device consisted of two cylinders connected through a tube to the pump and reservoir that run through a resipump in the scrotum. The dual cylinders could expand to a fixed width. Later on, the prosthesis was made available in two widths from which the user could choose. Later on, a different model was developed that eliminated the numerous components. It contained pumps made out of silicone material.

Three-Piece Inflatable Implant

Initially, this device had a dual pump system with a pair of cylinders which were then connected to a fluid reservoir. It worked by squeezing one pump that inflated the device while pressing the other pump ensured that the penis stayed flaccid. Later, the dual pump system was replaced by one pump that could inflate and deflate at will4.

Final Thoughts on Penile Implant Prosthetics 

Penile implants are getting better each day, offering more reliability and quality for people with ED. Talk with your doctor to help you decide which kind of implant would fit you.

Links to Sources Used:

  1. Recent advancements in penile prosthetics: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6381800/
  2. Penile prosthesis implant: scientific advances and technological innovations over the last four decades https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313299/
  3. Inflatable penile prosthesis implant length with baseline characteristic correlations: preliminary analysis of the PROPPER study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5760375/
  4. Patient and partner outcome of inflatable and semi-rigid penile prosthesis in a single institution https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4752147/