Prosthetic penile implants to treat sexual dysfunction problems are either semi-rigid (non-inflatable) or inflatable cylinders that replace the spongy tissue (corpora cavernosum) inside the penis that fills with blood during an erection. These prosthetic implants come in a variety of diameters and lengths.

Non-inflatable (or semi-rigid) implants are always firm and can be bent into different positions.

There are two kinds of inflatable implants. Both have cylinders in the shaft of the penis, a reservoir that holds water, and a pump to move the water from the reservoir to the cylinders. You create an erection by pumping water out of the reservoir and into the cylinders.

  • A three-chamber inflatable implant has the cylinders in the penis, the reservoir in the belly, and the pump and release valve in the scrotum. The reservoir in this type of implant is larger and separate from the cylinders.
  • A two-chamber inflatable implant has the reservoir at the beginning of the cylinders (at the base of the penis) and the pump and release valve in the scrotum.

Prosthetic implantation will be done using regional or general anesthesia. The implants are inserted through a small incision made in the penis, lower abdomen, or scrotum. A thin flexible tube (catheter) is inserted briefly up the urethra and into the bladder to drain urine.