Surgical Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction

Surgical Options for Erectile Dysfunction

Your doctor may suggest surgery to treat your erectile dysfunction or ED if other forms of therapy are not satisfactory.

Surgery is generally used to accomplish one of the following goals:

  • Implanting a prosthetic device within the penis, which causes an erection
  • Reconstructing the arteries within the penis to increase blood flow, which helps to facilitate an erection
  • Blocking off veins within the penis that allow blood to leave the penis, which helps to maintain an erection

Penile Implants for Erectile Dysfunction

In the past, the placement of a prosthetic device (also called a penile implant) within the penis was the only effective therapy for a man with an organic (having to do with a bodily organ or organ system) cause of erectile dysfunction.

Now, a penile implant is the last option considered. Nonsurgical treatment options are always tried before resorting to surgical options. Nevertheless, a penile implant remains a reliable form of therapy in highly motivated men when other treatments are unsuccessful.

Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of a penile implant with you and your sexual partner.

  • Almost all men with penile implants express satisfaction.
  • Part of this enthusiasm is related to the failure of other therapies and highly motivated users.

Two types of penile implants are available: a semirigid or malleable rod implant and an inflatable implant.

Semirigid or Malleable Rod Implants for Erectile Dysfunction

With the semirigid or malleable rod implant, 2 matching cylinders are surgically implanted into the penis. To achieve an erection, you manually adjust the position of the penis. This implant provides enough rigidity for penetration and rarely breaks.

Advantages of the semirigid or malleable rod implant include:

  • Simple surgery
  • Relatively few complications
  • No moving parts
  • Least expensive implant
  • 70-80% success rate
  • Highly effective

Fully Inflatable Implants

Advantages of a fully inflatable implant include:

  • Mimics the natural process of rigidity-flaccidity
  • User controls the state of erection
  • Natural appearance
  • No concealment problems
  • Increases the width of the penis when activated
  • 70-80% success rate
  • Highly effective

Disadvantages of a fully inflatable implant include:

  • Relatively high rate of mechanical failure
  • Risk of infection
  • Most expensive implant
  • Permanently alters or may injure erection bodies
  • If unsuccessful, interferes with other treatments

Self-Contained Inflatable Unitary Implants

Advantages of a self-contained inflatable unitary implant are:

  • Mimics the natural process of rigidity-flaccidity
  • User controls the state of erection
  • Natural appearance
  • No concealment problems
  • Simpler surgery than the fully inflatable implant
  • 70-80% success rate
  • Highly effective

Disadvantages of a self-contained inflatable unitary implant include:

  • Sometimes difficult to activate this type of implant
  • Does not increase the width of the penis
  • Possible mechanical breakdowns
  • Risk of infection
  • Relatively expensive
  • Permanently alters or may injure erection bodies
  • If unsuccessful, interferes with other treatments
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