Erectile dysfunction (issues getting an erection) is a common problem, especially among men over 65 or with certain medical conditions. Most men with erectile dysfunction try medicine first. If this doesn't help, we may recommend a penile prosthesis (or penile implant).
The prosthesis is made up of two artificial cylinders put under the skin of your penis using surgery. The prosthesis doesn't make your penis longer or change the feeling of sex. But it does help you with your erection.
Penile Implants at UVA Health
There are two types of prostheses:
A malleable (bendable) prosthesis has a semi-solid tube with a series of segments so that you can point the penis either down or out for sex. This prosthesis is easy to use and has low failure rates.
An inflatable penile prosthesis includes a pump and a place in your abdomen that stores fluid. When you want to get an erection, you pump the fluid from the site, and it fills the cylinders in the penis. This type of prosthesis is more like a natural erection than a malleable prosthesis.
Prostheses are also used to treat Peyronie's disease, a curve or bend in the penis.
Penile Implant Procedure: What to Expect
You can go home the same day as your penile implant surgery. Pain, swelling, and minor bleeding are common after surgery. Pain should improve within a week, but swelling may last several weeks.
Your care team may give you pain medication. After 2 days, you can stop taking the prescription pain medication and begin taking over-the-counter medication. You'll also have stitches, which will dissolve.
Your care team will show you ways to help your recovery at home. You'll have to avoid sex for a few weeks.
You'll visit your doctor 4-6 weeks after surgery, once the swelling has decreased. You'll learn how to use your prosthesis then. You can then begin having sex.