The inability of a man to have and to hold an erection can be life-changing. Erection problems undermine self-esteem, body image, and an overall sense of well-being as a virile healthy man. Many men judge the aging process by how well they can maintain an erection.
Factors that interfere with male sexual health include smoking, diabetes, weight, heart disease, alcohol consumption, and testosterone levels. Reversible causes should be considered before addressing the mechanics of penile function. Control of health problems, weight control, exercise, and normalization of testosterone levels through synthetic means need to be initiated first. If the erectile function does not recover, medication is the next step. If medication is not effective, then implantation of an inflatable penile prosthesis may be the best option.
The inflatable penile prosthesis is an implantable device that mimics the normal erectile cycle. It is inflated by using a pump that sits at the bottom of one side of the scrotal sac. Invisible to the naked eye, the pump is squeezed two or three times, resulting in water moving from a reservoir into two cylinders that are sitting in the penile shaft. The cylinders fill with water and get firm. Sexual intercourse can ensue for as long as the parties desire. Orgasm can be achieved. The cylinders stay rigid until the pump is released manually, and the water drains out of the cylinders. The cylinders deflate and the erection resolves. The implant can be inflated and deflated as often or as infrequently as is desired.
Placed surgically, the inflatable penile prosthesis is implanted in the operating room under general anesthesia. Particular attention must be paid to sterile technique to avoid infection. Because it is a mechanical device, the implant will need to be replaced approximately every ten years. However, it depends on how often it is used. It may need to be replaced sooner if it is frequently used.
With men living longer, fuller lives, more and more couples want to have satisfying sexual experiences in spite of their age and their medical co-morbidities. Here at Total Urology Care, we encourage our patients to maintain a healthy sex life because that is part of an overall healthy lifestyle. If you would like to learn more about inflatable penile prosthesis, please call our office or press the "Book Online" button to make an appointment to see one of our physicians.