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Penile Prostheses

Penile prostheses (implants). A medical device surgically implanted in a man’s penis that allows erections to occur. A penile implant does not interfere with a man’s libido (sexual desire) or his ability to climax. It is not visible, although some models provide more natural looking erections.

There are two types of penile prostheses:

  • Semi-rigid device. Consists of a pair of silicone-covered rods inserted into the penis. With this implant, the penis is always semi-rigid. It can be bent into position to initiate sex, or curved for concealment.
  • Inflatable penile prosthesis (IPP). Allows for more natural-looking erections and better flaccidity (non-erect states). Can either be a two-piece or a threepiece unit.

The two-piece IPP consists of a pair of hollow cylinders implanted on either side of the penis, and pump bulb in the scrotum. The pump bulb contains fluid. The patient squeezes the pump to inflate and deflate the prosthesis.

Three-piece IPP. Acts and feels more like a natural erection than the one or two-piece implants. It consists of a pair of hollow cylinders implanted in the penis, a small reservoir in the abdomen, and a pump.

A man gets erection by squeezing the pump in the scrotum. Upon completion of sexual intercourse, the man depresses the release valve on the pump, which drains the fluid out of the cylinder and back into the reservoir. In clinical studies, three-piece IPPs receive high satisfaction rates among its users and their partners.

Surgery for IPPs is performed in a hospital with the patient receiving a general and a local anesthetic. It takes about 30 minutes to one hour to implant the device, which can be activated about four weeks after surgery. Although IPP surgery is low risk, complications may include infection, mechanical failure and pain.

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