This surgery implants a device into the penis. The device can produce an erection-like state. It enables a man to have sexual intercourse.
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penile prosthesis insertion is for men who want to have an erection, including those who have:
- Not responded to other treatment options such as pills, suppositories, vacuum devices, injections
Certain diseases such as
diabetes, vascular disease
- Physical injuries such as spinal cord injury
- Certain surgeries that have made having an erection impossible
This procedure has a success rate of about 90%-95% five years after insertion. Most men rate the erection as shorter than their natural one. A penile prosthesis does not change the sensation on the skin of the penis or the ability to reach orgasm or ejaculate.
Complications are rare. But, no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have penile prosthesis insertion, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:
- Scar tissue that forms
- Erosion (tissue around the implant may break down)
- Mechanical failure
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
- Poor overall health
- Poor nutrition
- Use of certain drugs
- Bladder disease that requires a catheter
- Bleeding disorders
- Prior pelvic or genital surgery
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
Your doctor will:
- Obtain a complete medical, surgical, and sexual history
- Do a physical exam
- Do tests (eg, blood and urine tests, psychological tests) to rule out problems that might be treated with medicines
Leading up to the procedure:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg,
- Blood thinners, such as
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery, unless told otherwise by your doctor.
There are two types of anesthesia that your doctor may use:
- General anesthesia
—blocks pain and keeps you asleep through the surgery; given through an IV in your hand or arm
- Spinal anesthesia
—numbs the area from the chest down to the legs; given as an injection in your back
To prevent infection, your genital area will be cleaned. You will be given antibiotics about one hour before surgery. A catheter (thin tube) will be inserted into the penis to make sure that the bladder remains drained of urine.
There are two types of implants available:
- Inflatable (hydraulic) implant—two cylinders, a pump, tubing, and may have a reservoir
implant—two semi-rigid rods inserted into the penis
There are two types of inflatable implants: two-piece and three-piece. For both types, the doctor will make a small incision at the top of the scrotum. The incision will be made so that sutures are under the skin and can be absorbed.
With the two-piece implant, the cylinders will be inserted into the penis. A pump (with fluid) will be inserted into the scrotum. This type of implant is simpler to insert. It takes up more space in the penis, leaving less room to expand.
With the three-piece implant, the cylinder will be inserted into the penis. The pump will be inserted into the scrotum. Lastly, a reservoir containing the fluid that is used for inflation will be inserted into the abdomen.
The doctor will make an incision just behind the head or near the base of the penis. An opening will be made into each of the two long tubes of spongy tissue inside the penis. The doctor will insert one rod into each tube. Lastly, the doctor will close the incisions so that no sutures will be needed.
- Inflatable implant: 1-2 hours
- Malleable implant: 30-60 minutes
You will have pain for about four weeks. Ask your doctor about medicine for pain.
This procedure is most commonly done in a hospital. You may need to stay one night or longer if you have problems. In some cases, it may be possible to leave the hospital on the same day as the procedure. Talk to your doctor to find out if this is an option for you.
While you are recovering at the hospital, your doctor will:
- Have the urine catheter removed
- Examine you
- Give you antibiotics and pain medicines
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Be sure to follow your doctor's
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- Take antibiotics as directed.
For pain relief, use:
- Over-the-counter medicines (eg,
acetaminophen) or those your doctor prescribes
- Warm compress
- Wear loose-fitting underwear while you recover.
- Avoid sexual activity for at least six weeks.
- Avoid difficult physical exercise and heavy lifting for six weeks.
- Ask your doctor when you can return to work. You may need to wait 10 days.
- Do not drive until instructed by your doctor.
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, increasing bleeding, or a large amount of fluid leaking from the surgical area
- Increased swelling in your scrotum or penis
- Blood in your urine
- Signs of infection such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, dizziness, general ill feeling
New symptoms such as nausea, vomiting,
constipation, abdominal swelling
- Pain or difficulty with urination
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated December 4, 2012. Accessed December 17, 2012.
Montorsi F, Rigatti P, Carmignani G, et al. AMS three-piece inflatable implants for erectile dysfunction: a long-term multi-institutional study in 200 consecutive patients.
Eur Urol. 2000;37:50-55.
Mulhall JP, Ahmed A, Branch J, Parker M. Serial assessment of efficacy and satisfaction profiles following penile prosthesis insertion.
J Urol. 2001;165:1429-1433.
Penile prostheses for erectile dysfunction. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at:
. Updated January 2011. Accessed December 17, 2012.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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