Penile implants are tubes that can mimic the erection process, placed inside the penis by your surgeon. You may be a candidate for a penile implant if your erectile dysfunction (ED) is not responding to medicines and non-surgical treatments, or if those treatments pose a health risk.
Penile implants can also be used to treat severe cases of Peyronie's disease, a condition that causes scarring inside the penis, leading to curved, painful erections.
The urologists at El Camino Health — experienced in the most advanced techniques and microsurgical skills — use two types of implants to treat ED: inflatable and semi-rigid. You and your urologist will discuss the differences of each along with its benefits and risks to determine the option that best suits you.
Implant surgery typically takes one hour under general anesthesia, and usually requires an overnight stay in the hospital. The recovery period is six to eight weeks, at which point you may resume sexual activity.
Surgeons at El Camino Health also offer a minimally invasive inflatable penile implant procedure. This surgery can be done in less than an hour with full recovery and sexual function in three weeks.
The Two-piece Inflatable Prosthesis
Totally concealed in the body, the two-piece inflatable prosthesis consists of a pair of “inflatable” cylinders implanted in the erection chambers of the penis. A fluid-filled pump bulb is placed in the scrotum (the pouch of skin that holds the testicles). Slender tubes carry the fluid from the pump to the cylinders and back again.
You squeeze the pump bulb to inflate the implant and create an erection. After sexual activity is finished, you gently bend the erect penis for approximately ten seconds, allowing the fluid to leave the cylinders and return to the pump implant; the penis returns to its soft stage. Most men find this device easy to use, inflating it to provide rigidity, and deflating it for concealment.
The Three-piece Inflatable Prosthesis
This option creates a firmer erection than its two-piece counterpart. Like its counterpart, it features two cylinders implanted in the penis, but the pump is separated from the fluid reservoir. Your surgeon implants the pump in the scrotum and the fluid reservoir in the lower abdomen.
You create a rigid erection by squeezing the pump to inflate the cylinders with fluid. After sexual intercourse, you press the pump’s release button to drain the fluid back into the abdominal reservoir. The penis returns to flaccidity. All parts of the device are completely concealed.
The three-piece penile implant is the most popular and has the highest satisfaction rates with patients. The experts at El Camino Health have done pioneering work in the minimally invasive surgical placement of the three-piece implant. We have also been leaders in developing the method for alternative (ectopic) reservoir placement, which minimizes the risk of complications during surgery, making it safer for patients. The procedure now takes less than an hour, through an incision of less than an inch. Most men see a complete return to sexual activity in three weeks.
Semi-rigid penile implants are uncomplicated, easy to use and totally concealed in the body. Two bendable rods of fixed length and width are placed within the erection chambers of the penis. You manually bend them up for an erection, down when not in use.
Keep in mind that while penile implants allow men to get an erection, they don't increase sexual desire, sensation or make your penis larger than it is naturally.