Penile Implant Surgery – Are You A Candidate?
Penile Implants are especially designed devices that are used to permanently address the symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in men. This modality of care is traditionally employed by men who have not had significant success with other non-invasive treatment options. The penile implants are of different types and sizes; and are surgically placed inside the penis. Like every operative procedure, penile implant surgery is also associated with various risks, which need to be understood before opting for this treatment modality.
What Are Classic Indications Of Penile Implant Surgery?
Penile Implants are usually advised in the following situations:
- When other modes of managing ED fails, for example, medications or penis pumps
- When a person is not a candidate for other first line therapies due to medical or surgical reasons
- When other methods fail to provide sufficient erection for a satisfactory sexual episode
- When scarring has occurred inside the penis due to various medical/surgical diseases, causing painful erections (a condition called Peyronie’s disease)
In some conditions, penile implant surgery is strictly prohibited. These include:
- A situational Erectile Dysfunction, in which the inability to maintain an erection arises due to psychological reasons or relationship conflicts.
- Wounds or lesions on the external surface of the penis or scrotum
- Infectious state, especially involving the lungs or urinary tract
Risks and Complications
Risks of penile implant surgery are manifold; unless if the surgery is performed by an expert urologist or surgeon. Common risks are:
Infection is the most common complication after the surgery. People with low immunity like diabetics or those with spinal cord injuries are more prone to get infected. Besides, individuals who are undergoing a revision surgery are also at an increased risk. Infection can occur anytime during the post-surgery rehabilitation phase even after many years. When a serious infection occurs, in the form of scrotal swelling, pus accumulation and fever; a surgery is always required to remove the offending implant.
- Erosion or adhesion:
At times, the implant may adhere with the internal skin of the penis, causing the skin to wear off gradually, or may rarely lead to a break through the skin. This sometimes happens as a consequence of the penile infection.
- Implant issues:
Sometimes, the implants are unreliable and do not function correctly. A semi-rigid implant is likely to break down with the passage of time, while an inflatable implant can cause troubles like leakage of the fluid or pump failure.
Important facts about penile implants:
- Penile Implants do not increase the sexual desire or libido; these implants are only meant to produce an erection when needed.
- Penile implants do not elongate the penis; rather the length of the erect penis may be a little shorter than before.
- Mulcahy, J. J., Kramer, A., Brant, W. O., Parker, J. L., Perito, P. E., Myers, J. B., … & Dunne, M. (2014). Current management of penile implant infections, device reliability, and optimizing cosmetic outcome. Current urology reports, 15(6), 1-8.
- Mulcahy, J. J. (2000). Long-term experience with salvage of infected penile implants. The Journal of urology, 163(2), 481-482.
- Kava, B. R., & Burdick‐Will, J. (2013). Complications Associated with Retained Foreign Bodies from Infected Penile Implants: Proposal for the Use of an Implant‐Specific Checklist at the Time of Device Removal. The journal of sexual medicine, 10(6), 1659-1666.