Penile Prosthesis

What Is a Penile Implant?

A penile implant is a permanent option for a man suffering with ED and offers concealed support for an erection whenever and wherever desired. Patients report 97% satisfaction rates with a penile implant. (AMS brand, Bernal et. al. Adv Urol. 2012;2012:707321. Accessed May 2015.)

What Else Do I Need to Know?

When medications are not successful at not getting good erections, your urologist will talk to you about other treatment options including a surgical procedure called the inflatable penile prosthesis (IPP). The IPP is the most spontaneous of all erectile dysfunction treatments, as a man can have an erection in a few seconds and does not need to take any medications or use external devices.  The concept behind the IPP is to place two hydraulic cylinders in the penis that mimic the natural erection in order to have good sex. Every penis has two natural tubes that run up each side of the penis and fill up with blood when a man is sexually excited and these tubes are called the corporal bodies.  When a man has erectile dysfunction, the corporal bodies will not have enough blood in them to stay hard for sex. To solve the hardness problem, a urologist will place two tubes in each corporal body that can fill up and get hard by squeezing a pump that is implanted in the scrotum.  All it takes to get the penis hard is to squeeze the pump a few times and then once a man is done with sex there is an easy to feel button on the pump to make the penis go soft.  The hydraulic fluid is sterile saline, and the IPP is filled with saline at the time of the surgery.  In some cases, an IPP can make the penis a little bit longer and a little bit wider. 

All IPP’s have two cylinders and a pump, and some way to shift the hydraulic fluid around the prosthesis depending on being hard or soft. A common type of IPP is called the 3 piece, as a pump is implanted in the scrotum, and a reservoir for the hydraulic system is placed deep in the groin area to the side of your bladder. A 2 piece IPP does not have a reservoir, and uses the penile cylinders to store the hydraulic fluid. Your urologist will talk to you about which IPP device would be best for your needs and anatomy at the time of surgical planning.

The surgery to implant an IPP is done on an out patient basis, and requires a general anesthetic. One small incision near the penis is usually needed for the surgery, and most men have a catheter in the bladder overnight to help with discomfort from the surgery.  A man needs about 4 weeks to heal before his surgeon will teach him to activate the device and then he can use it whenever he likes. During the time of recovery from the surgery, a man will need to pull down the pump in the scrotum every day and avoid heavy lifting over 25 pounds.  On average, the life span of an IPP is over 10 years. A man will see his surgeon at regular intervals after surgery to make sure he is healing correctly, and discuss any questions about the use of the IPP.