Men with erectile dysfunction (ED) are sometimes uneasy when the term penile implant is mentioned (1). The idea of undergoing such surgery can make any man squeamish. There are natural questions that arise from such a procedure. What are the complications that may arise from the operation? Does the penile implant work? Is sex different after the surgery? How do partners feel about this procedure? All of these are credible concerns. Nonetheless, it has been discovered that the new penile implant technology has a high rate of satisfaction from both the men and their partners (2).
Defining a Penile Implant
A penile implant is, at times, referred to as a penile prosthesis. It is a device placed in the body of a man to allow him to get an erection anytime he chooses. There is no part of this device that is visible. Orgasm, ejaculation, and sexual sensations are still the same for many men.
Surgeons who conduct this procedure remove the pair of spongy chambers in your penis known as the corpora cavernosa. Usually, to get an erection, the chambers fill up with blood. Next, the implant materials replace the tissue. Based on the type, these implant materials form erections differently (3). The types of implant materials include:
- Malleable penile implants are rods put in the penis shaft. A man raises the penis into position whenever he wants to get an erection. It is placed downward after sexual activity.
- Inflatable implants are more complicated. Rather than bendable rods, the surgeons put two cylinders in the shaft of the penis. The cylinders are linked to a pump that is placed surgically in the scrotum.
The penis erects when the man activates this pump, which in turn fills fluid in the cylinders. After sex, the man deactivates the pump where the penis resumes its flaccid state. These inflatable implants are available in two-piece and three-piece units.
Why Do You Need an Implant?
Whereas there are less-invasive ED treatments such as suppositories, injections, and pills that help many men, they may not work for everyone. Some have experienced less success with such alternatives, and others are unable to use them. For instance, men who use medication with nitrates cannot consume ED pills since drug interactions may result in a drastic decrease in blood pressure (4).
Critical Considerations of Penile Implant
Most men enjoy the spontaneous action presented by penile implants. Rather than waiting for the effects of other treatments to kick in, they can form their erection. A few men feel more masculine with the restoration of their erectile function and more confident about pleasing their partner.
Nonetheless, penile implants have a couple of shortcomings. Just like with any other surgical procedure, there is an infection risk. Although rare, there is also a possibility of device malfunction. There is also the fact that some men are uncomfortable with the artificial side of a prosthesis.
New Penile Implant Technology
While most of the men and their partners have found satisfaction with the newer implants in the market, it is up to you and your partner to decide what works best for your situation. Bear in mind that penile implant procedures are irreversible (5). It is impossible to restore the corpora cavernosa once they are replaced. You can contact your urologist in case you or your partner have any concerns or questions.
Links to Sources Used:
- Erectile dysfunction (ED) https://urology.ucsf.edu/patient-care/adult-non-cancer/male-sexual-and-reproductive-health/erectile-dysfunction
- Long-term survival and patient satisfaction with an inflatable penile prosthesis for the treatment of erectile dysfunction https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4462637/
- Penile Implants https://healthcare.utah.edu/menshealth/treatments/penile-implants/
- The dangers of sexual enhancement supplements and counterfeit drugs to “treat” erectile dysfunction https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5313300/
- Penile Prosthesis https://www.washington.edu/urology/penile-prosthesis/