So you’ve decided to have penile implants for erectile dysfunction. Penile implants are available in two forms: an inflatable device or semirigid rods. Talk to your doctor about both types to decide which is best for you. As well, use our “Getting Help” guide to talk with your doctor and other healthcare professionals about long-term management of erectile dysfunction. When you are certain that you wish to undergo the surgery for penile implants, ask your doctor what you can expect from the procedure.
How to prepare for penile implant surgery
Talk to your doctor about how you can prepare for the surgery for penile implants. Before any medical procedure, you should disclose your full medical history, including any medical conditions you have or medications and supplements you take. You may need to stop taking certain drugs or supplements prior to the surgery, such as aspirin, St. John’s wort, or blood thinners. Do not stop taking a prescribed medication unless it’s at your doctor’s direction.
Your doctor may also instruct you to use an antibiotic soap in the area for a few days prior to the surgery. This will help lessen the risk of an infection. Avoid shaving in the area.
What is the penile implant procedure
The anesthesiologist will administer general or local anesthesia. If you have general anesthesia, you need to follow the doctor’s instructions regarding the consumption of food and drink prior to the penile implants procedure. You will be given intravenous antibiotics to help prevent infection, and you may also require a urinary catheter inserted into your bladder.
To begin the surgery, the doctor will make an incision in the lower abdomen, at the base of the penis, or at the head of the penis. Spongy tissue inside the penis will be stretched, and then the surgeon will apply an antibiotic fluid. The penile implant device will be inserted.
Depending on the type of penile implant you chose, you may also have a pump and valve placed in your scrotum and a fluid reservoir beneath the abdominal wall. The surgeon will close the incision with sutures.
Recovering from penile implant surgery
Immediately after the surgery for penile implants, you’ll be taken to a recovery room and monitored. This type of surgery necessitates a brief hospital stay, usually for one night. Someone else should drive you home from the hospital, and ideally stay with you for a few days.
If you have a urinary catheter, it will typically remain in place for about 24 hours. Expect to take antibiotics to prevent infection, as well as pain relievers to alleviate any discomfort. Most men may experience lingering, mild pain for several weeks. Provided your job consists of light activity, you should be able to return to work within a few days. Strenuous physical activity should not be attempted for about six weeks, or for as long as your doctor recommends. Your doctor will clear you for sexual activity, typically about six weeks following the procedure.
Potential side effects & risks of penile implants
All surgeries carry risks such as infection, blood clots, bleeding, and complications from the anesthesia. Rarely, an infection may develop years after the surgery. An infection requires surgical removal of the implant. There is also the risk of implant failure or breakage. Sometimes, penile implants may adhere to the interior side of the skin and may wear the skin away. In rare cases, it may break through the skin.
Read more in our Erectile Dysfunction Health Center.