Understanding Penile Implants: How Do They Work?


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition affecting many men, particularly those who have undergone treatments for conditions such as prostate cancer. While there are several treatment options available, one of the most effective ones for severe ED is the use of penile implants. This blog will explore how these devices work, providing a deeper understanding of this treatment option.

Dr. Paul Chung offers several treatments for ED and the one most likely to work well for you depends on numerous factors, Many of Dr. Chung’s patients are hesitant to seek treatment, but as you can see from his many testimonials, many are glad after they do. 

What are Penile Implants?

Penile implants, also known as penile prostheses, are medical devices surgically implanted within the penis to allow men with erectile dysfunction to achieve an erection. They are usually considered when other treatments for ED have not been successful.

There are two main types of penile implants: inflatable devices and semi-rigid rods.

  1. Inflatable Devices

The most common type of penile implant is an inflatable device that consists of three parts: two cylinders implanted in the penis, a fluid-filled reservoir implanted in the abdomen, and a pump placed in the scrotum. When an erection is desired, the man squeezes the pump in the scrotum, which transfers fluid from the reservoir into the cylinders in the penis, causing them to inflate and mimic a natural erection. After intercourse, the pump can be released, transferring the fluid back into the reservoir, and the penis returns to a flaccid state.

  1. Semi-Rigid Rods

Semi-rigid penile implants consist of two flexible rods that are inserted into the penis. These rods always keep the penis firm enough for sexual penetration. When an erection is not required, the penis can be manually adjusted to position it against the body.

How Do Penile Implants Work?

The functioning of penile implants is relatively straightforward. For inflatable devices, the process begins with the man activating the pump placed in the scrotum. This action moves the fluid from the reservoir into the cylinders in the penis, causing it to become erect. The erection lasts as long as the man desires, with no impact on ejaculation or orgasm. Once finished, he can deactivate the pump, moving the fluid back into the reservoir, and the penis returns to a flaccid state. On the other hand, semi-rigid implants require the man to adjust the position of his penis manually to achieve an erect or non-erect state.

Penile implants offer an effective solution for men suffering from severe erectile dysfunction. While the thought of having surgery can be daunting, knowing how these devices work can provide reassurance and help men make informed decisions about their treatment. It's important to have open discussions with your healthcare provider to understand the potential benefits and risks involved. Remember, the goal is to improve your quality of life and restore sexual function, and penile implants can be a viable step towards that goal.

If you’re ready to learn more and to find out if a penile implant could be the right solution for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Chung. His advice and expertise is invaluable in determining whether or not this is the best treatment option for you. 

Paul H. Chung, MD Paul H. Chung, MD is Assistant Professor of Urology and Director of Reconstructive Urology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA

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