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    Erectile Dysfunction: Penile Prosthesis

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    Is the Prosthesis Noticeable?

    While men who have had the prosthesis surgery can see the small surgical scar where the bottom of the penis meets the scrotal sac, or in the lower abdomen just above the penis, other people probably will be unable to tell that a man has an inflatable penile prosthesis. Most men would not be embarrassed in a locker room or public restroom, for example.

    What Is Sex Like With the Prosthesis?

    When the penis is inflated, the prosthesis makes the penis stiff and thick, similar to a natural erection. Most men rate the erection as shorter than their normal erection; however, newer models have cylinders that may increase the length, thickness, and stiffness of the penis.

    A penile prosthesis does not change sensation on the skin of the penis or a man's ability to reach orgasm. Ejaculation is not affected. Once a penile prosthesis is put in, however, it may destroy the natural erection reflex. Men usually cannot get an erection without inflating the implant. If the implant is removed, the man may never again have natural erections.

    How Effective Are the Implants?

    About 90%-95% of inflatable prosthesis implants produce erections suitable for intercourse. Satisfaction rates with the prosthesis are very high, and typically 80%-90% of men are satisfied with the results and say they would choose the surgery again.

    Is the Implant Safe?

    No surgery is totally free of possible complications. Complications associated with penile implants include:

    • Uncontrolled bleeding after the surgery possibly leading to re-operation
    • Infection
    • Scar tissue formation
    • Erosion (tissue around the implant may break down) requiring removal
    • Mechanical failure leading to re-operation and removal

    Will Insurance Cover the Cost of the Penis Prosthesis Implant?

    Insurance coverage for these operations is often good, as long as a medical cause of ED is established. Medicare covers the surgery, but Medicaid does not, except under extreme circumstances in certain states.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Stuart Bergman, MD on September 10, 2015
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