Prosthetic penile implants to treat sexual dysfunction problems are either semi-rigid (non-inflatable) or inflatable cylinders that replace the spongy tissue (corpora cavernosa) 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.

Artificial Urinary Sphincter

An Artificial Urinary Sphincter (AUS) is a device that has a cuff that goes around the urethra, a pump in the scrotum, and a balloon in the abdomen. The cuff is closed most of the time, preventing leakage. When the patient cycles the device, using the pump in the scrotum, the cuff opens up and allows the patient to urinate. Over a minute or so, the cuff refills with fluid, thus causing continence again. The devices are typically put in either through a very small incision on the upper part of the scrotum or with two incisions (one in the perineum (the area between the scrotum and anus) and one in the groin or abdomen).