What is a penile implant?
A penile implant (or prosthesis) is a mechanical device that is inserted into the penis to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), for the purposes of sexual functioning. A surgical procedure is required which can be performed as a daycase.
A penile implant is an excellent option where other treatments are no longer effective or suitable, and they have the highest satisfaction rates of all ED treatments. Some men may opt for a penile prosthesis as they no longer want to plan intercourse and take medication or inject themselves. A penile prosthesis takes less than a minute to activate.
Common indications are ED related to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, nerve injury (due to prostate cancer treatment) and Peyronie’s disease. Other indications are following trauma, priapism or gender reassignment.
There are various types of implant, including the 3 - piece inflatable device as well as the simpler malleable prosthesis. All options are available here by our expert andrology team here at OneWelbeck.
Why are penile implants used?
A penile implant may be indicated when other treatments have failed, are not suitable or not reliable enough. i.e. medication (eg Viagra), injection treatment (eg Caverject), the vacuum erection device or intra-urethral medication (MUSE) have failed or are not reliable enough. They provide a reliable and permanent solution to erectile dysfunction.
What does the penile implant procedure involve?
The procedure involves a light anaesthetic or sedation, and an incision (cut) in the skin either above (infra-pubic approach) or below (peno-scrotal approach) the penis, where 2 cylinders are inserted into the chambers of the penis. With an inflatable device a pump is inserted between th testicles in the scrotum and a reservoir in the abdomen. This can all usually be done through the same cut in the skin, in a procedure that takes an hour or so.
Your urologist will then review you in the first few weeks to ensure that all is well
How long does a penile implant last?
Penile implants are some of the most durable prostheses in use in surgery, and may remain in place and functioning for over 20 years. However the average lifespan of these devices is around 10 years.
What is the recovery process after getting a penile implant?
During the operation the genital area is injected with local anaesthetic to numb the area - an effect that usually lasts for the rest of the day. After that, standard tablet painkillers can be taken if required. A drain tube may be left for a few days after the operation to allow any fluid or blood to drain out, and this is then removed in the outpatient clinic.
In the first few weeks after the procedure you will be seen by your urologist to check all is well and to cycle the device. Then at around 4-6 weeks you will be seen again and tought how to operate the device yourself, before resuming sexual activity.