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Penile prosthesis

What is a penile prosthesis or implant?

A penile prosthesis is an artificial device that is used as a treatment option for men experiencing erectile dysfunction.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is a condition where a man is unable to obtain an erection for sexual intercourse or is unable to achieve ejaculation. Erectile dysfunction may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, brain and spinal cord injuries, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, heart attack, herniated disc, and atherosclerosis. Other diseases include liver failure, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Penile implants are also indicated in men with the following conditions: hypogonadism, vascular diseases, pelvic fractures, patients who have undergone bladder or prostate surgery, and impotence related to medical diseases such as renal failure, genital trauma, and drug therapy.

What types of implants are available?

Penile implants are of two types, semi-rigid (malleable or non-hydraulic) and inflatable (hydraulic) implants.

  • Semi-rigid consist of two rods made of silicone rubber that are surgically inserted in the penis. It provides rigidity and flexibility to the penis.
  • Inflatable prosthesis consists of two cylinders, a pump and a reservoir which is inserted inside the penis. The reservoir containing fluid is placed under the groin muscles while the pump is placed under the loose skin of the scrotal sac between the testicles. When the pump is pressed the fluid from the reservoir is transferred to the cylinder inflating it so that the penis becomes stiff. The cylinder can be inflated at the time of erection and deflated after the intercourse.

What risks and complications are associate with penile implants?

Common complications of using penile implants include uncontrolled bleeding, infection, scar tissue formation, and erosion of tissue around the implant. However, these complications are mild and can be treated accordingly. Other problems include tubing kinks, dilation of cylinders, breakage of wire, and loss of rigidity.

Are penile implants contraindicated in certain patients?

Penile implants are contraindicated in patients with poorly controlled diabetes as it increases susceptibility to infections and also in patients with bladder outlet obstruction as it produces urinary retention.