What is penile prosthesis?
Penile prosthesis is the insertion of a device inside the penis that allows to achieve an erection even in patients suffering from severe erectile dysfunction.
There are two types of penile prosthesis:
- Malleable (or non-hydraulic) prostheses: they consist of two cylinders that are placed in the corpus cavernosum. These implants make the penis partially rigid permanently.
- Hydraulic prostheses: they are composed of two cylinders (as in the case of malleable prostheses), a reservoir inserted behind the pubis and a pump implanted in the scrotal bag; all this is connected through tubes used for the passage of physiological serum. The patient can cause the erection by pressing a simple button on the pump; this starts the hydraulic system and the fluid moves from the reservoir to the cylinders inside the penis, causing it to harden.
Very few patients today choose to use penile prostheses, often because they have doubts about the function of the device. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
- Does the operation cause damage to the nervous system? No; the penis will remain sensitive.
- Is the prosthesis visible? No; its presence is not noticeable from the outside.
- Will the patient be able to ejaculate after the operation? Yes, the patient will be able to ejaculate, have orgasms and conceive.
- Does the prosthesis cause urinary problems? No.
- How many years does it last? The prosthesis can last up to 15 years, after which it will need to be replaced.
Penile prosthesis allows erection in cases of erectile dysfunction.
Why is it performed?
The treatments to follow before choosing to insert the prosthesis are the following:
- Taking medications that stimulate erection;
- Injection of vasoactive compounds into the penis.
People suffering from the following conditions often cannot resolve their impotence with the help of the treatments described above alone:
- Erectile dysfunction;
- Heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic or cardiovascular diseases that prevent blood from accessing the penile blood vessels;
- Persons who have undergone prostatectomy (prostate removal) after prostate cancer and those who have undergone surgery to remove other types of tumors (p. e.g. bladder or rectum): very often, during the operation, these patients undergo a cut of the nerve that allows erection and for this reason become impotent.
In these cases, where other treatments have failed, penile prostheses often prove to be the most effective solution.
What does it consist of?
During the operation, an incision is made between the scrotum and the penis, through which the prosthesis is inserted.
The operation lasts one and a half to two hours and is performed under general or spinal anesthesia; convalescence in the hospital is a couple of days.
The procedure leaves a small scar at the base of the penis, which is almost invisible. Sexual activity can be resumed about a month to a month and a half after the operation.