How Many Types of Penile Implants Are There?
Although multiple companies make several slightly different models of penile implants, there are two main types of penile implants: inflatable and semirigid. Each of these types of implants has their advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, if you are considering getting a penile implant, it is important to discuss your options with a knowledgeable doctor or urologic surgeon who can help you decide which implant would be best for you.
Inflatable penile prosthesis
The inflatable penile prosthesis (IPP) is now the most common type of implant. As the name suggests, this implant can be inflated with an internal pump that is located in the scrotum.
When an erection is desired, the individual uses the pump in the scrotum to transfer fluid from a reservoir placed in the abdominal wall into two cylinders in the penis. This action causes the penis to become rigid, just as would occur during a natural erection.
Then, when the erection is no longer desired, the person uses a release valve to allow the fluid to flow back into the reservoir.
The IPP is a popular choice of implant because the inflating and deflating mechanism allows for more natural-feeling erections. An inflatable implant is discreet because it allows the penis to become flaccid when an erection is not required. However, the surgery to place an IPP can be a bit more complex than the surgery to place a semirigid implant.
Semirigid penile implant
The second main type of penile implant is known as a semirigid, malleable, or non-inflatable implant. This implant relies on semirigid rods that are placed in the penis. These rods are always firm, but they can be bent away from or toward the body to facilitate an erection or to conceal the device.
Since the rods are always firm, it is not as easy to disguise this type of implant. Nevertheless, positioning the rods downward/toward the body can make the implant less visible under clothing. Additionally, the surgery to place the semirigid implant is less complex, and the chances of experiencing an implant malfunction are low because there are very few parts in the device.
The bottom line
Selecting a penile implant is a highly personal decision that depends on several factors including a person’s age, mental health, mobility/dexterity, medical history, and more. The best way to choose a penile implant is to talk to a trusted health care provider who is well-versed on the subject.
- Mayo Clinic. (2022, March 17). Penile implants. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/penile-implants/about/pac-20384916