An inflatable penile prosthesis is an effective treatment option for erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction refers to the consistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection for sexual intercourse. If medication or conservative methods of treatment for erectile dysfunction have been unsuccessful, a penile prosthetic may be recommended. An inflatable penile prosthesis is surgically implanted into the penis and scrotum, and can be manually activated to simulate an erection by pumping fluid from a reservoir into inflatable tubes in the penis.
Inflatable Penile Prosthesis Surgery
Prior to surgery, the patient is sedated under anesthesia. A catheter may be temporarily inserted into the bladder. During the surgery, the surgeon makes an incision in the head and the base of the penis. Cylinders are implanted in the two hollow chambers in the penis called the corpora cavernosa. This is the area that would normally fill with blood during an erection. A pump and a valve are surgically inserted inside the scrotum. Depending on the specific prosthetic that is being used, the surgeon may also also make an abdominal incision and implant a fluid reservoir under the abdominal wall. Once the device is in place, the surgeon stitches the incisions closed.
Recovery from Inflatable Penile Prosthesis Surgery
Patients may experience mild pain for about a week after the surgery. Pain medication is prescribed and antibiotics are also given to prevent infection. Regular physical activity can be resumed 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery. Sexual activity can be resumed within the same time frame.
Results of Inflatable Penile Prosthesis Surgery
After recovery, the inflatable penile prosthetic device can be inflated by squeezing the pump several times to transfer fluid from the reservoir to the chambers in the penis. This fluid straightens and hardens the penis, causing an erection. The doctor may advise the patient to inflate and deflate the penile implants each day, to practice using them and stretch the area where the cylinders have been implanted. During sexual intercourse, most men still have the same sensations on the outer skin of the penis and the inflatable penile prosthesis does not affect the man's ability to reach orgasm or ejaculate.
Risks of Inflatable Penile Prosthesis Surgery
While it is considered a safe procedure, penile prosthesis surgery carries risks that may include:
- Injury to the penis or scrotum
In rare cases, the inflatable penile prosthetic may not work correctly or may break through the skin. Surgery may be necessary to repair or remove a broken implant.