Penile implants

10 Facts About Penile Implants for Erectile Dysfunction (ED)


  • Penile implants are a surgical option for men who have not found success or relief from erectile dysfunction medications or other devices. 
  • Penile Implants come in two types: semirigid and inflatable.
  • While few men are eligible to receive penile implants, they can offer men the opportunity to experience an erection. 
  • There are risks to penile implant surgery.
  • The majority of men respond to less invasive, costly, and risky treatments such as medications or devices like penis pumps

If you’ve considered penile implants as a cure for erectile dysfunction, you probably have questions. We’ve rounded up the most common questions about implants. Read on to find it if they’re a good solution for you.

1. What are penile implants?

Penile implants are devices that are surgically placed in a man’s penis, often as a treatment for erectile dysfunction. Sometimes called “penile prostheses,” the implants can help some men with ED.

2. What types of penile implants are there?

There are two main types of penile implant:

Semirigid. A semirigid penile implant is a firm rod that can be manually bent to create an erection, then bent back when the erection is no longer needed. This type of implant is also available as a series of segments held together with springs that allow even more options and may hold its position more successfully.

Inflatable. Inflatable implants come in two types (two-piece or three-piece). Each uses inflation and deflation to manipulate an erection. In each case, the patient uses a pump to move fluid from a reservoir in the abdomen or scrotum to inflatable cylinders in the penis. After sexual activity, the patient releases a valve implanted in the scrotum to drain the fluid back to the reservoir.

Both types of penile implant come in custom, or special designs to fit either smaller or larger penises.

Doctor having a discussion with a male patient.

3. Why do men choose to have penile implants?

Most men can be successfully treated for ED without surgery. Medications or devices such as a penis pump successfully allow the majority of men to achieve and maintain an erection, even if they suffer from erectile dysfunction.

In the few cases where other treatments have proven ineffective, doctors may recommend exploring penile implant surgery. This is particularly true of men who suffer from  Peyronie’s disease, a rare condition that causes plaques and curvature of the penis.

For men whose ED is situational (only happens in certain situations), emotional (the product of relationship conflict, anxiety, or self-confidence issues), or the product of a physical condition (such as diabetes or infection), surgery is generally not recommended.

4. How can penile implants help erectile dysfunction?

A penile implant can help men produce an erection suitable for sexual intercourse. This means that about 90% of men who have received a penile implant are satisfied with their ability to have penetrative sex.

5. What is sex like for men with penile implants?

It is important to know, however, that while the implant will help a man achieve an erection, it will have no effect on the sensation or arousal that a man feels (or doesn’t feel) in his penis. This does not mean that men cannot experience an orgasm, simply that the implant will not assist in achieving an orgasm. In addition, the penis will also not deflate after orgasm until the release valve is pushed.

6. Can a partner tell if you have a penile implant?

It is unlikely that a sexual partner would be aware of the implant unless they were told or they noticed the small scar on the bottom of the penis.  Your implant will not affect your partner or their ability to achieve an orgasm.

7. Can penile implants increase penis size?

The majority of penile implants will not increase the size of your penis. Indeed, in some cases your penis, when erect, may be slightly shorter than it was before surgery.

8. What are the advantages and risks of penile implant surgery?

Doctor performing surgery.

As with any surgery, there are significant risks. These include:

  • Infection: Your skin is designed to keep infection out. Surgery, by its very nature, causes a break in your skin, allowing germs and bacteria to enter your body. Even with precautions in place, there is always a risk of infection from a surgical procedure.
  • Problems with the implant: While modern penile implants are reliable, there is always the risk of breakage or malfunction. If something goes wrong with your implant, you will need surgery to repair or replace the implant.
  • Internal erosion or adhesion: There are cases where the penile implant has stuck to the skin inside the penis and worn away the skin from the inside. This may even cause the implant to break through the skin.

9. How much does implant surgery cost?

There are a number of factors that will determine how much penile implant surgery will cost in your particular case, including your diagnosis, the details of your insurance, and whether or not you are on Medicare.

The average range of cost for the surgery runs from $15,000 to $25,000 out-of-pocket for patients.

10. What alternatives are there to penile implant surgery for erectile dysfunction?

Doctors will not prescribe or approve penile implant surgery for most men, simply because medications and other devices are safer, cheaper, and widely effective. More than 70% of men respond to one of the available erectile dysfunction medications such as Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra, making these drugs the best option.

Even if you don’t want — or can’t take — one of the many available ED medicines, you may choose to try another kind of non-invasive device such as a penile pump.

How eDrugstore Can Help

In any case, your very first stop should be talking to a U.S. licensed, qualified physician, like those at eDrugstore. We offer free, confidential telehealth appointments to our customers. Browse our medication guide, or call us at 1-800-467-5146 to schedule a consultation. Virtual health visits and shipping are always free.

Couple holding red, heart shaped balloons.

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