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Penile Implants for Erectile Dysfunction
Penile Implants for Erectile Dysfunction

Penile Implants for Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition that affects millions of men. It can negatively affect self-esteem, relationships, and overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available, including penile implants.

What Are Penile Implants?

Penile implants, also known as penile prosthetics, are surgically placed within the penis to help men achieve and maintain an erection. Physicians typically recommend this option for men who have not responded to or cannot tolerate other ED treatments, such as oral medications, injections, or vacuum erection devices.

There are two main types of penile implants: inflatable devices and semi-rigid rods.

1. Inflatable Penile Implants

Inflatable penile implants have three components: a pair of inflatable cylinders, a fluid reservoir, and a pump. The cylinders are implanted inside the penis and are connected to a fluid reservoir implanted in the lower abdomen. A pump that controls the system is placed in the scrotum.

To achieve an erection, the man squeezes the pump, transferring fluid from the reservoir to the cylinders, causing them to inflate and the penis to become erect. To return the penis to its flaccid state, the man releases the fluid from the cylinders back to the reservoir by pressing a release valve on the pump.

2. Semi-Rigid Rod Penile Implants

Semi-rigid rod penile implants consist of two bendable rods surgically implanted into the penis. These rods maintain the penis in a semi-rigid state, allowing for sexual intercourse. To achieve an erection, the man simply adjusts the position of the rods manually.

Advantages of Penile Implants

Penile implants offer several advantages over other ED treatments.

  • High success rate: Penile implants have a high success rate in helping men achieve and maintain erections suitable for sexual intercourse. Many men report satisfaction with their implants and a significant improvement in their sex lives.
  • Long-lasting solution: Unlike oral medications or injections, which provide temporary relief, penile implants offer a long-term solution to ED. With proper care, a penile implant can last for many years, and in some cases, for the remainder of a man's life.
  • Discreet: Penile implants are discreet and hidden entirely within the body. They are not visible when the penis is flaccid or erect, and they do not interfere with urination or ejaculation.

Choosing the Right Implants

Selecting the right penile implants is critical in ensuring a successful outcome. Your urologist will work closely with you to choose the most appropriate implant based on your needs, lifestyle, and medical history.
Factors that can influence the choice of implants include the severity of your erectile dysfunction, any underlying medical conditions, and your personal preferences.

The Surgical Process

The surgery to implant a penile prosthetic is typically performed under general anesthesia. Minimally invasive techniques are used to limit scarring and ensure a quick recovery. You can usually go home the same day, and you can resume normal activities within a few weeks.

Full recovery and the ability to engage in sexual activity typically takes four to six weeks.

Post-Operative Care and Support

Following your penile implant surgery, you will receive thorough post-operative care instructions to ensure a successful recovery. The instructions will detail how to care for your surgical site, manage any pain or discomfort, and gradually resume normal activities. You may have follow-up appointments with your care team so they can ensure you are healing as you should.

Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications. Some of these risks include infection, device malfunction, and erosion of the implant through the skin.

Cost and Insurance Coverage

The cost of penile implant surgery can vary depending on the type of implant used and other factors. Penile implants are considered a medically necessary treatment for ED, so insurance plans will often cover a significant portion of the cost.


To help you better understand how to recognize the signs and symptoms of ED and what your treatment options are, watch this webinar presented by Dr. Ryan Dornbier. In it, he explains everything you need to know about the diagnosis and treatment of ED. 

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