Penile Prosthesis Insertion


This surgery implants a device into the penis. The device can produce an erection-like state. It enables a man to penetrate his partner. A penile prosthesis does not directly change the sensation on the skin of the penis or the ability to reach orgasm or ejaculate.

Penile Implant

Penile Implant
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Reasons for Procedure    TOP

A penile prosthesis insertion is for men who want to have an erection, including those who have:

  • Not responded to other treatment options such as pills, suppositories, vacuum devices, and injections
  • Certain diseases such as diabetes or vascular disease
  • Physical injuries such as spinal cord injury
  • Certain surgeries that have made having an erection impossible

Possible Complications    TOP

Complications are rare. But, no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have penile prosthesis insertion, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. These may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scar tissue that forms
  • Break down of tissue around the implant
  • Mechanical failure

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking or alcoholism
  • Poor overall health
  • Poor nutrition
  • Use of certain drugs
  • Diabetes
  • Bladder disease that requires a catheter
  • Infection
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Paralysis
  • Prior pelvic or genital surgery

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.

What to Expect    TOP

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor will:

  • Obtain a complete medical, surgical, and sexual history
  • Do a physical exam
  • Do tests to rule out problems that might be treated with medications

Leading up to the procedure:

  • Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to 1 week before the procedure.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your surgery, unless told otherwise by your doctor.


There are 2 types of anesthesia that your doctor may use:

  • General anesthesia —blocks pain and keeps you asleep through the surgery; given through an IV in your hand or arm
  • Spinal anesthesia —numbs the area from the chest down to the legs; given as an injection in your back

Description of the Procedure    TOP

To prevent infection, your genital area will be cleaned. You will be given antibiotics about one hour before surgery. A thin tube called a catheter will be inserted into the penis to make sure that the bladder remains drained of urine.

There are 2 types of implants available:

  • Inflatable implant—2 cylinders, a pump, tubing, and may have a reservoir
  • Malleable implant—2 semi-rigid rods inserted into the penis

Inflatable Implant

There are 2 types of inflatable implants: 2 and 3. For both types, the doctor will make a small incision at the top of the scrotum. The incision will be made so that sutures are under the skin and can be absorbed.

With the 2 implant, the cylinders will be inserted into the penis. A pump with fluid will be inserted into the scrotum. This type of implant is simpler to insert. It takes up more space in the penis, leaving less room to expand.

With the 3-piece implant, the cylinder will be inserted into the penis. The pump will be inserted into the scrotum. Lastly, a reservoir containing the fluid that is used for inflation will be inserted into the abdomen.

Malleable Implant

An incision will be made just behind the head or near the base of the penis. An opening will be made into each of the 2 long tubes of spongy tissue inside the penis. One rod will be inserted into each tube. Lastly, the incisions will be closed so that no sutures will be needed.

How Long Will It Take?    TOP

  • Inflatable implant: 1-2 hours
  • Malleable implant: 30-60 minutes

Will It Hurt?    TOP

You will have pain for about 4 weeks. Ask your doctor about medication for pain.

Average Hospital Stay    TOP

This procedure is most commonly done in a hospital. You may need to stay 1 night or longer if you have problems. In some cases, it may be possible to leave the hospital on the same day as the procedure. Talk to your doctor to find out if this is an option for you.

Post-procedure Care    TOP

At the Hospital

While you are recovering at the hospital, your doctor will:

  • Have the urine catheter removed
  • Give you antibiotics and pain medications

At Home

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Avoid sexual activity for at least 6 weeks.
  • Avoid difficult physical exercise and heavy lifting for 6 weeks.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions.

Call Your Doctor    TOP

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, increasing bleeding, or a large amount of fluid leaking from the surgical area
  • Increased swelling in your scrotum or penis
  • Blood in your urine
  • Signs of infection such as fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, lightheadedness, general ill feeling
  • New symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal swelling
  • Pain or difficulty with urination

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.


Urology Care Foundation


Canadian Diabetes Association


ED: penile prostheses (erectile dysfunction). Urology Care Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed June 1, 2016.
Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 29, 2016. Accessed October 10, 2016.
Montorsi F, Rigatti P, Carmignani G, et al. AMS three-piece inflatable implants for erectile dysfunction: a long-term multi-institutional study in 200 consecutive patients. Eur Urol. 2000;37:50-55.
Mulhall JP, Ahmed A, Branch J, Parker M. Serial assessment of efficacy and satisfaction profiles following penile prosthesis insertion. J Urol. 2001;165:1429-1433.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2013

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