How do penile implants work?

What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)?

Penile Implants are used to treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED). They provide physical support to the penis so that the patient can achieve an erection. Broadly speaking, there are two types of penile implants available in the market today: semi-rigid (malleable) and inflatable implants.

Semi-rigid (Malleable) Penile Implants

semi-rigid-penile-implant-technical-medical-information-02Semi-rigid implants are by far the cheapest and simplest to use. They are composed of two flexible, silicone rods that are surgically placed into the erectile tissue of the penis. Whenever the patient is ready for sexual activity, all he has to do is bend his penis upward. When he is done, he can turn the penis downward for concealment.

            Pros of using the semi-rigid (malleable) penile implant

As with any medical device, there are pros and cons to the semi-rigid implant. The prosthesis provides a constant state of erection for the penis; therefore it is effortless to use primarily for men who have problems with manual dexterity. This also allows for spontaneous sexual activity because the patient does not need to wait for the device to be primed before using.

            Cons of using the semi-rigid (malleable) penile implant

However, due to its constant rigid state, this implant can promote the highest rate of penile tissue erosion as compared to the other implants. If the patient has other chronic diseases that affect the vascular system, such as diabetes, the semi-rigid implant could worsen the health of the penile tissue. The device also doesn’t offer any expansion or lengthening of the penis.

3-piece and 2-piece Inflatable Penile Implants

inflatable-penile-implants-info-nyc-01Inflatable implants are slightly more complicated to use than the semi-rigid implants. However, what they lack in simplicity they more than makeup for in functionality. As the name suggests, inflatable implants provide the patient with an erection when they are inflated. There are two types of inflatable implants: the three-piece and the two-piece inflatable devices.

            How does the 3-piece inflatable penile implant work?

The three-piece is composed of two cylinders that are surgically placed in the penis. These cylinders are then attached to a tube that is connected to the reservoir, which is situated in the lower abdomen. The reservoir contains saline which is delivered to the cylinders by a pump, which is placed in the scrotal sac. When the patient is ready for sexual activity, he presses the pump, which then delivers the saline from the reservoir into the cylinders resulting in inflation of the penis causing an erection. When the patient is finished, he presses the deflator valve located at the bottom of the pump, which then delivers the saline back into the reservoir causing the penis to deflate and return to its normal, flaccid state.

            How does the 2-piece inflatable penile implant work?

The two-piece inflatable implant works in much the same way as the three-piece except that the reservoir and the pump are combined into one unit. This reservoir-pump combo is placed inside the scrotum; therefore there are no parts placed within the lower abdomen, and the surgery is less complicated as compared to the three-piece implant. However, a significant disadvantage of the two-piece implant is that the reservoir is smaller, so there may not be enough saline to produce a full erection.

Inflatable penile implants vs. Semi-rigid (malleable) penile implant

By far the most significant advantage of using the inflatable devices instead of the semi-rigid implant is the ability to return to a flaccid state after sexual activity. With the simple push of the deflator valve, the patient can deflate his penis, which produces a much more natural feel and look as compared to the semi-rigid implant which prevents a return to a flaccid state.

If you would like to know more about how penile implants can benefit you and your partner, contact us today at 212-541-6239 and schedule your free appointment.

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