Penile Implants

Male impotence or erectile dysfunction is a condition which is estimated to affect approximately 50% of men over the age of 40.  While investigating treatment options a man will be faced with both invasive and noninvasive techniques designed to help them regain a satisfactory and healthy sex life.  One of those treatment protocols are penile implants which have provided an effective solution since the early 1970s.

With the introduction of some of the new drugs such as Viagra, Cialis or Levitra, penile implants have proven to be a final course of action when other treatment modalities have failed.  

Problems with erectile dysfunction are defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection which is sufficient for sexual intercourse and includes the inability to get an erection as the result of sexual stimulation.  Some men experience the loss of an erection prior to ejaculation. Erectile dysfunction does not usually include other symptoms, such as a lack of libido or the inability to ejaculate.  It is generally limited to the physical act of achieving and maintaining an erection.

Penile implants are sometimes referred to as internal penile pumps.  They are surgically implanted and are not externally visible.  In fact, some men report that even their partners didn't know they had an implants.  Manufactures report a success rate of over 90% in men who use penile implants because of a physical cause and not a psychological cause.  Clinical studies have also shown that they do not alter the quality of intercourse, desire, orgasm or ejaculation men had prior to the implants.  Some men report improvements in desire and performance due in part to the boost in confidence they get knowing that their problems with erections have been eliminated.

Penile implants will permanently impair the erectile tissue in the penis.  This means that once the device is inserted it is highly unlikely that a man will be able to experience an erection without the aid of the implant.  They do not usually affect sperm production and are not considered a form of contraception, nor will they affect fertility.

As technology advances, changes have been made to the devices which have resulted in fewer postsurgical complications.  Surgeons are now becoming more skilled at completing the insertion in as little as 30 minutes.

There are three types of implants that are currently available: semi rigid malleable, two-piece inflatable and three-piece inflatable.  The semi rigid malleable or flexible implants is the simplest and least expensive currently on the market.  There are two sides that are implanted inside the penis which have an outer coating of silicone, high density plastic or polyethylene.  The result of this type of implant is a permanent erection that can be repositioned as required.

Because the implant is malleable or flexible the penis can be straightened during sexual activity and bent downwards close to the body for concealment later.  These implants are the simplest procedure, can be done during day surgery, are easy to use and romantic spontaneity is not affected.  After insertion the recovery time is usually four to six weeks. Some men will experience severe pain during this period.

The two-piece inflatable implant has two hollow cylinders that are implanted into the penis with a small pump inserted in the scrotum. By gently squeezing the scrotum several times the pump transfers fluid from the cylinders meant to inflate and create an erection.  The fluid is transferred back to the reservoir by gently bending the penis downward for approximately 10 seconds.  These implants create a more natural looking erection and enable the penis to return to a flaccid state which makes concealment easier under tight clothing.  This surgical procedure is relatively simple and usually requires only a day surgery. But because there are more components, there is a greater risk of postsurgical complications.  Again the recovery time is four to six weeks and many men will report severe pain and abdominal pain during the recovery.

The three-piece the implant has three components; two hollow cylinders that are surgically implanted into the penis and a small pump and valves that are inserted into the scrotum.  The third component is a small reservoir which contains sterile solution inserted into the lower abdomen.  When an erection is no longer required, a release valve inserted in the scrotum is gently squeezed and releases the fluid back to the reservoir located in the lower abdomen.

This particular implant creates the most authentic looking erection and there is no waiting times so romantic spontaneity is not lost.  The device is simple to use and enables the penis to return to a flaccid state after sexual activity has been completed.  However because the surgery is more complex the risk for failure of one of the components is higher and the cost of the surgical procedure is also higher.  Again the recovery period is four to six weeks and many men will also report severe penile and abdominal pain during that time.

RESOURCES

University of Maryland Medical Center: Penile Implant Surger
http://www.umm.edu/urology/ed/implant_ed.htm

MayoClinic: Penile Implants
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/penile-implants/MY00358/DSECTION=what-you-can-expect

AnswerED: The Permanent Answer to ED
http://www.edcure.org/erectile-dysfunction-solution/types-of-penile-implants.html

American medical Systems: Erectile Restoration
http://www.americanmedicalsystems.com/mens_erectile_restoration.html

Wexner Medical Center: Penile Prosthesis
http://urology.osu.edu/19958.cfm

Advanced Urological Care: ED
http://www.urologicalcare.com/patient_information/faq-ipp/
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