Penile Implant

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A penile prosthesis (or penile implant) consists of two artificial cylinders surgically placed under the skin of your penis. The prosthesis does not make the penis longer or change the feeling of sex. 

There are two types of prostheses:

  • Malleable 
  • Inflatable

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.

How a Penile Implant Helps

An inflatable penile prosthesis includes a pump and a storage site in the abdomen for 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. 

Erectile dysfunction (the inability to get an erection) is a common problem, especially among men over 65 or with certain medical conditions. Most men with erectile dysfunction try oral medication first. If this does not help, your care team may recommend a prosthesis. 

Prostheses are also used to treat Peyronie's disease, a curve or bend in the penis. 

The Penile Implant Procedure

Penile prosthesis insertion is an outpatient surgery. You can go home the same day as your surgery. Pain, scrotal swelling and minor bleeding are common after surgery. Pain should improve within a week, but swelling may last several weeks. 

Your care team may prescribe pain medication. After 48 hours, you can stop taking prescription pain medication and begin taking over-the-counter medication. You'll also have stitches, which will dissolve. 

Self-care After a Penile Implant

You can help your recovery by:

  • Wearing a jock strap or tight underwear
  • Using an ice pack
  • Avoiding sex
  • Wearing gauze pads over your incision dressing
  • Taking a bath up to your hips beginning 10 days after surgery 

You may begin to shower 48-72 hours after surgery. You can get your incision wet, but don't scrub it.

You'll visit your doctor 4-6 weeks after surgery, once the swelling has decreased, to learn how to use your prosthesis. You can then begin having sex.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.