Penile implants, also referred to as penile prostheses, are mechanical devices that are surgically inserted into the penis with a purpose of aiding those with erectile dysfunction to get an erection (erectile dysfunction is a condition where a man is unable to have an erection or has the inability to sustain it during copulation.) Introduced over three decades ago, penile implants have proved to function where all other medical or natural treatments have failed but despite this fact, they have not gained much preference due to their invasive nature and are only used as a last resort in erectile dysfunction treatment.
Penile prostheses may be external (where vacuum constriction devices are used) or internal which involves use of implants that are placed in the penis through a minor surgery that takes about an hour. The surgery involves making an incision below the head of the penis, the base of the penis or in the lower abdomen. Then, the spongy tissue in the corpora cavernosa (a hollow chamber that contain erectile tissue) is stretched and an implant cylinder of the correct size is inserted. An inflatable penile prosthesis may also be used. It has two cylinders, a reservoir and a pump that are surgically inserted into the penis. The cylinders are placed in the penis, the reservoir under the groin muscles and the pump is placed in the scrotal sack between the testicles. When the pump is pressed it pushes the fluid in the reservoir through a tube into the cylinders that are in the penis. This causes them to inflate, thereby mimicking a natural election. A deflation valve is used to reverse the process leading to deflation of the cylinders.
Penile implants have numerous merits when successful. They make the penis stiff and thick, which allows the individual to have sex normally. The implants also reduce the amount of energy that the body uses to pump blood and maintain an erection. This reduces the strain on the muscles around the groin area.
While this may appear very effective and safe, there are some side effects on record that are associated with it. These may include the following:
- Risk of infection
Individuals with diabetes, spine injuries and open sores stand a greater risk of getting an infection after the penile implants. The infection usually manifests through consistent pain that may go beyond two months after the surgery. In such a case, it is usually expedient to seek medical advice.
- Discomfort and pain
This has been claimed by individuals in the first few weeks after the surgery. This is usually normal as the body adapts to the new foreign device and lasts for only a short time after the penile implant. However, there are cases where the pain persists for long periods and this requires to be addressed.
An allergy is a condition where the body overreacts to a foreign device that comes into contact with it. Since the penile prostheses involve placing a device inside the body, it may cause a hypersensitivity reaction. The only remedy for this is the removal of the implant.
- Penile shortening and abnormal shape
This is where the penis gains an abnormal shape and curvature after the penile implant. In fact, it may sometimes become scary or shorter. Some individuals have also claimed that the erection achieved using an inflatable penile prosthesis is shorter than the natural erection.
- Mechanical failure of the implant
The inflatable penile implant uses a pump which may fail in some cases. This may require a re-operation to either change the device or repair it.
- Scar tissue formation or tissue erosion
This is where the tissue around the implant becomes scary or in other cases the tissue may break down after the implant has been done.
There are, however, safe and natural methods that could be applied in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. For instance, the traction-based penis extenders like SizeGenetics not only deal with erectile dysfunction problem but also increase the size of the penis permanently.
With this in mind, the penile implant should only be considered when every other medical or natural treatment has failed in the treatment of erectile dysfunction or has proved ineffective in increasing the size and the girth of the penis.