A Treatment For Erectile Dysfunction That's Beyond the Blue Pill
September 24, 2019
If you are experiencing erectile dysfunction (ED), defined as the inability to obtain or maintain an erection, there is a treatment that can take you beyond the blue pill.
A penile prosthesis, a surgically implanted device, is a well-established treatment known for generating the highest satisfaction among ED therapies, says urologist Aram Loeb, MD.
“People think it’s crazy aggressive surgery, but it isn’t – it is outpatient surgery,” he says. “It takes less than an hour, you go home the same day and the recovery is fairly short.
“The treatment restores function, brings back intimacy, and ultimately provides high patient and partner satisfaction,” he says.
What is a Penile Implant?
There are two main options for penile implants:
- Inflatable implants consist of three components: paired cylinders in the erectile bodies of the penis, a pump in the scrotum and a reservoir placed in the pelvis. All components are well concealed and underneath the skin. Hydraulic components allow you to pump up the device to achieve an erection and a deflate mechanism used to bring the penis back to the flaccid state.
- Malleable implants are two semi-rigid but bendable rods are placed in the erection bodies of the penis. This lets the man bend his penis into an erect or non-erect position.
A penile implant has an extremely low risk of complications and infection rates of 1 percent to 2 percent, Dr. Loeb says. And technological advances have made newer implants more durable. Most men have the same implant for at least 10 years, says Dr. Loeb.
There is no age limit for having this procedure performed.
Causes of Erectile Dysfunction
ED can be caused by many factors. Often is it related to cancer treatment, or a result of diabetes, hypertension and other medical conditions. ED often is the first sign of cardiac disease, too.
Other treatments for ED remain available, such as penis injections, and vacuum devices. There are some less well-studied options such as shock wave therapy and plasma or stem cell injections, but these therapies have not been proved and should be avoided unless in a clinical trial, Dr. Loeb says.
Advanced management of ED such as penile implants calls for consultation with a urologist, specifically one who specializes in erectile dysfunction and all the treatment options.
The Male Infertility & Sexual Health Program at University Hospitals offers advanced treatments and an experienced, multidisciplinary team to address many of the symptoms and causes of erectile dysfunction.
Men: Take charge of your health and schedule an annual checkup with a University Hospitals primary care physician. Learn more.