Erectile Dysfunction: Penile Prosthesis

Penile Prosthesis Introduction

A penile prosthesis is another treatment option for men with erectile dysfunction (ED). These devices are either malleable or inflatable. The simplest type of prosthesis consists of a pair of malleable (bendable) rods surgically implanted within the erection chambers of the penis. With this type of implant the penis is always semi-rigid and merely needs to be lifted or adjusted into the erect position to initiate sex. Today, many men choose a hydraulic, inflatable prosthesis, which allows a man to have an erection whenever he chooses and is much easier to conceal. It is also more natural.

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

How Does the Penile Prosthesis Work?

The inflatable penile prosthesis consists of two cylinders -- a reservoir and a pump -- which are placed surgically in the body. The two cylinders are inserted in the penis and connected by tubing to a separate reservoir of fluid. The reservoir is implanted under the groin muscles. A pump is also connected to the system and sits under the loose skin of the scrotal sac, between the testicles.

To inflate the prosthesis, the man presses on the pump. The pump transfers fluid from the reservoir to the cylinders in the penis, inflating them. Pressing on a deflation valve at the base of the pump returns the fluid to the reservoir, deflating the penis.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/7/2014

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