What are some pros and cons of penile implants?

Penile implant surgery is a long-lasting treatment for erection dysfunction (ED) in that it allows a man to have an erection essentially at any time.

Some benefits of penile implant surgery are:
  • surgery takes only about an hour to perform
  • can be done as an outpatient procedure, in most cases
  • it has been done for over 40 years on hundreds of thousands of men
  • high rates of patient satisfaction
  • does not affect a man’s sensation, orgasm, ejaculation or urination
Some drawbacks of penile implant surgery are:
  • may not be covered by insurance
If your surgery is not covered by insurance, one easy way to look for an affordable service is to search online for flat-fee “penile implant surgery packages.” 
Marc B. Garnick, MD
Hematology & Oncology
Broadly speaking, there are two types of penile implants -- inflatable implants and semi-rigid (malleable) rods. Inflatable implants may have a two- or three-piece design.

Advantages of a three-piece inflatable penile implant include the following:
  • Acts and feels more like a natural erection than semirigid models.
Disadvantages of a three-piece inflatable penile implant include the following:
  • Requires more manual dexterity than other implants.
  • Possibility of leakage or malfunction.
  • Most expensive type of implant.
  • Requires the most extensive surgery of all implants.
Advantages of a two-piece inflatable penile implant include the following:
  • Penis looks more natural in erect and flaccid states than with the semirigid implant.
  • Easier to operate than the three-piece implant.
  • No abdominal incision.
Disadvantages of a two-piece inflatable penile implant include the following:
  • Possibility of leakage or malfunction.
Advantages of a semirigid (malleable) penile implant include the following:
  • Easy to use, especially for those with limited dexterity.
  • Requires the least extensive surgery.
  • Fewest parts, so less chance of malfunction.
  • Least expensive type of implant.
Disadvantages of a semirigid (malleable) penile implant include the following:
  • Constantly firm.
  • Somewhat harder to conceal than inflatable implants, but new designs make this less of a concern than in the past.

Continue Learning about Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Erectile Dysfunction Treatment

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be treated by urologists or other specialists or even by your general practitioner. Your doctor may recommend medication that works by relaxing penis muscles and increasing blood flow into the penis. ...

Other treatments include therapy, implants, surgery and lifestyle changes, like exercising regularly, losing weight and eating right.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.