What are penile prostheses?

A penile prosthesis is an artificial stiffener, which is inserted under general anaesthetic into the chambers of the penis to guarantee the rigidity necessary for sexual intercourse. A penile prosthesis reproduces a normal erection and preserves all the normal feeling and sensation during intercourse. The quality of the erection obtained with a penile prosthesis is excellent and most patients and partners are very happy with the outcome post surgery.

The procedure usually takes just under an hour and the patient is discharged the same day. The prosthesis is usually inserted through a 3cm long incision via the scrotal sac. Sexual activity can be resumed 6 weeks post-surgery.

There are 2 kinds of penile prostheses: semirigid and inflatable. The semirigid or malleable prosthesis is made of two semirigid cylinders, which are inserted into the chambers of the penis. They produce a constant erection and the penis is usually bent laterally to be concealed in the underwear. The inflatable prosthesis is made of two cylinders, which sit in the chambers of the penis along with a scrotal pump and an intra-abdominal reservoir - a system filled with sterile water, and requires the patient to press a pump to transfer the fluid from the reservoir to the cylinders. This produces good level of rigidity and a natural looking erection. When the sexual intercourse is completed, the patient presses the deactivation button of the pump to transfer the fluid back into the reservoir and to render the penis flaccid.

Inflatable penile prosthesis by far produces the best results in terms of rigidity and concealing of the penis in flaccidity. Malleable penile prosthesis are only used in selected groups of patients.

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