What is it?
A penile implant is a device which can be implanted inside the penis. It allows men suffering from severe erectile dysfunction to have an erection.
There are two types of penile implant (or penile prosthesis):
- Malleable penile prosthesis: two rods which are inserted within the erection chambers of the penis. With this type of implant the penis is always partially rigid.
- Inflatable penile implant: much like in a malleable penile prosthesis, the inflatable penile implant is made of two rods. In addition, an inflatable penile implant includes a reservoir which is implanted in or behind the abdominal wall, and a pump which is also connected to the system and sits in the scrotal sac. The whole system is connected by small tubes which pump through the saline. This makes it possible to get an erection by simply pressing a button, located on the pump.
A penile prosthesis does not change sensation on the skin of the penis, and is completely concealed. It does not cause any urinary conditions.
The implant can last for as long as 15 years. After that it may be necessary to replace it.
What is it for?
Those who suffer from the following conditions may be suitable for a penile implant:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Cardiac conditions, diabetes, metabolic or cardiovascular disorders which prevent the blood from getting to the penis’ blood vessels;
- People who underwent a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) after prostate cancer and people who had surgery to remove any other type of tumour (such as bladder cancer and bowel cancer). In these cases the nerves which can get an erection are removed, so people in these situations can struggle with impotence.
What does it involve?
During the surgery, an incision is made between the scrotum and the penis. The implant is inserted in through this incision.
The procedure lasts from an hour and half to two hours and it can be done under general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic. Usually you will stay in hospital overnight.
There may be a small, almost invisible scar at the base of the penis after the surgery.
Surgery does not affect your ability to ejaculate, orgasm and conceive in the long term – but it may take about a month and a half to resume full sexual activity.
Before implanting a penile prosthesis, you may try the following treatments:
- Oral treatment with drugs that can stimulate an erection
- Injection of vasoactive agents inside the penis
A penile implant is usually recommended for people who have first tried the treatments above and found that they do not work.