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What are surgical implants for erectile dysfunction?

Jan L. Shifren, MD
Reproductive Endocrinology
A surgical implant is reserved for cases where no other form of treatment for erectile dysfunction has succeeded and the ED is truly distressing to the individual or couple. Two kinds of implants are available. The first consists of two pencil-thin silicone rods implanted in the penile shaft above the urethra. The operation is done on an outpatient basis and takes about an hour. Afterward, the penis remains permanently erect, although it can be pointed down along the thigh to conceal it under clothing.

The second type of implant uses inflatable cylinders that are placed into the corpora cavernosa (two flexible cylinders of erectile tissue that run the length of the penis to support erection). When the man wants an erection, he simply squeezes a pump located in the scrotum. The pump pushes saline fluid into the cylinders from a reservoir implanted in the scrotum or abdomen. Although this device generates a more natural erection than silicone rods, it's prone to complications, such as infection or malfunction.

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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.