Penile implant surgery, also known as penile prosthesis, is a procedure to implant a device into the penis to allow a man to achieve an erection and maintain sexual function. It’s often used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction when other treatments, such as medication, are not effective. This surgery can also be a part of gender confirmation surgery for transmasculine individuals.
There are two main types of penile implants:
- Inflatable implants: These are the most common type of penile implant. The implant includes two cylinders that are inserted into the penis, a pump that goes inside the scrotum, and a reservoir of fluid that’s inserted under the abdominal muscles. To achieve an erection, the man squeezes the pump in the scrotum, which moves fluid from the reservoir into the cylinders, inflating them.
- Semi-rigid rods: This type of implant involves the insertion of two semi-rigid rods into the penis. The rods keep the penis firm enough for sex but flexible enough to be positioned against the body when not in use.
The specific procedure for penile implant surgery can vary, but generally, it’s performed under general or spinal anesthesia. An incision is made in the lower abdomen or the base of the penis, and the implant is inserted through this incision.
Like all surgeries, penile implant surgery carries risks, including infection, implant malfunction, and dissatisfaction with the results. It’s also important to note that once a penile implant is placed, natural erections typically will no longer be possible.
Penile implant surgery is a significant decision that should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider who is experienced in treating erectile dysfunction and/or transgender healthcare. They can provide detailed information about the procedure, its risks and benefits, and other potential treatment options.