How does a penile prosthesis work?

October 23, 2020

A penile implant is used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) in men. It is a great option when other therapies have not worked for including pills, injections, pumps. Often times the side effects of these therapies are so extreme, they’re intolerable. It is also an excellent alternative for men who do not wish to try them for personal reasons or preferences.

What kinds of penile implants are there?

Once the decision is made to proceed with a penile implant or prosthesis, there are two excellent options.

The penile implant may be either malleable (stiff but bendable), or inflatable. The type men may opt for will vary on either preference or whether or not they feel comfortable operating the mechanisms. Both options provide direct control of when and how long the erection will last. The inflatable system will mimic the most natural feeling erection as there are “on or off” options that are controlled via an implanted pump.

How do the implants work?

Malleable prostheses work by always being “on” and rigid but bendable. When it is in use, it is straightened out. Once activity is finished, it can be moved to the side. Men who prefer this option like it because it is the most straightforward without any “bells and whistles.” No dexterity is needed to operate it and it is an excellent option for men who are looking for something simple that works.

Inflatable penile prostheses work by having “on and off” states. When it is “off,” the cylinders inside the penis are deflated. Once a man is in the mood for sexual activity, they will activate a pump that is installed in the scrotum by pushing it, subsequently increasing the girth and length of the cylinders for activity. Once activity is finished, a separate button on the pump is pushed to deactivate and deflate the cylinders, resulting in flaccidity of the penis. Men prefer this option as it mimics the most natural course of an erection.

Is a penile implant right for me?

A penile implant may be right for you if pills, injections, or medications no longer work or if you dislike any of them. The biggest benefits of your implant are that it will make your penis rigid on-demand. Whereas pills like Viagra or Cialis take some time to kick into effect, the implants are ready to go when you are. You are able to control when you would like to have erections whenever you are aroused.

Does the penile implant make my penis larger/longer?

Unfortunately, a penile implant does not increase the length of your penis. When you meet with your surgeon preoperatively, they will give you an idea of how things will look after your procedure.

If you are unsure if a penile implant is right for you, start the conversation by visiting and speaking with your urologist for further consultation.

Dr. Tsai at Austin Urology Institute offers a minimally invasive technique that allows for:

  1. Improved recovery times
  2. Less soreness around the genital area
  3. Easier and earlier activation of the implant after surgery.