This information describes the benefits, risks, and possible complications of penile implants.

You have seen the video on penile implants. It shows you how they work and explains the process for implanting them and using them. You have also received some printed materials. Please read this information carefully before you decide if you want a penile implant.

What are penile implants used for?

Penile implants are used to treat male patients with impotence (not able to have or keep an erection). This is also called erectile dysfunction (ED). Implants are used in patients who have not responded to other treatments for ED. These include pills, suppositories, injections, and vacuum devices. Implants are also used in patients who have responded to these treatments, but who don't like the side effects.

Implants are not used to increase the length of the penis.

What are the benefits of having a penile implant?

  • It makes the penis rigid. Patients usually get an erection within 30 seconds after starting to pump the device.
  • It doesn't require taking pills or injecting medication.

What are the risks of having a penile implant?

  • The implant must be put in during surgery. Most patients can leave the hospital a few hours later. Every surgery has some risks and your doctor will discuss this with you.
  • The surgery is irreversible. This means that if the implant needs to be removed or a patient changes his mind, no other treatments will work for him.
  • The implant can cause some complications. These are not common, but they need to be discussed. These complications includeL:
    • Infection: This happens in 1 to 3 out of 100 patients who have a first-time implant. Infection is more common if the surgery needs to be repeated. If the device gets infected, it will need to be removed. Infections usually occur within the first 8 weeks after surgery, but they may occur up to 1 year after surgery.
    • The device breaks down early: This occurs in about 2 out of every 100 patients who have an implant. The pump or cylinders can stop working in the early months following surgery. If this happens, the device will need to be replaced.
    • A new surgery is needed: About 15 to 20 out of every 100 patients who have an implant will need to have a new surgery within the first 10 years. This is because of wear and tear on the device.
    • Autoinflation: The device may inflate by itself, but it usually needs some exertion for this to happen. Great care is taken during the surgery so that this doesn't happen. However, in some cases, it may happen despite our best efforts. This is more likely to happen in patients who are overweight or who have had surgery for prostate cancer.
    • Scrotal hematoma: This is swelling and bruising of the scrotum, lower abdomen, and inner thighs. Blood can collect and cause a lot of swelling. A scrotal support (similar to a jock strap) is put on patients after surgery to help prevent this from happening.
  • Other less common complications include the following:
    • The device can come through the skin (erosion). This is more likely to happen if a patient has had an infection. The device will need to be removed.
    • The device can move out of place (migration). This may require another surgery.

What to Expect After Surgery

  • Most patients will have pain and swelling for about 2 weeks after the surgery.
  • You will have to take at least 7 days off of work.
  • You cannot masterbate or engage in any sexual activity for 4 to 6 weeks following the surgery. This includes vaginal, oral, and anal sex.
  • It may take more than 6 months for your penis to feel normal again.
  • There should be no change in the quality of your ejaculation or orgasm.
  • There will be no increase in the length of your penis.