Penile Implants for Erection Problems
Penile implants to treat Reference erection problems Opens New Window (erectile dysfunction) are either semirigid (noninflatable) or inflatable cylinders that replace the spongy tissue (corpora cavernosum) inside the penis that fills with blood during an erection. The implants come in a variety of diameters and lengths.
Noninflatable (or semirigid) implants are always firm. They can be bent into different positions (outward to have sex and back toward the body to conceal under clothing).
There are two kinds of inflatable implants. Both have cylinders in the shaft of the penis, a reservoir that holds salt water, and a pump to move the salt water from the reservoir to the cylinders. You create an erection by pumping salt water out of the reservoir and into the cylinders. The release valve on the pump drains the salt water out of the cylinders and back into the reservoir.
- A three-chamber inflatable implant has the cylinders in the penis, the reservoir in the belly, and the pump and release valve in the Reference scrotum Opens New Window. The reservoir in this type of implant is larger and separate from the cylinders.
- A two-chamber inflatable implant has the reservoir at the beginning of the cylinders (at the base of the penis) and the pump and release valve in the scrotum.
Surgery will be done using Reference regional or general anesthesia Opens New Window. The implants are inserted through an incision made in the penis, lower abdomen, or scrotum. A thin flexible tube (catheter) is inserted briefly up the urethra and into the bladder to drain urine.
A three-chamber implant is usually more reliable than a two-chamber implant. Inserting the three-chamber implant is a slightly more complicated surgery.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: May 14, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology