The surgical implantation of a penile prosthesis is an effective and satisfactory treatment for Erectile Dysfunction, although it is only considered for patients who have tried other treatments without success or who prefer to opt for a permanent solution to their problem. The surgery consists of placing biocompatible cylinders in each of the corpora cavernosa of the penis, these cylinders are able to produce sufficient rigidity for satisfactory sexual relations. Penile prostheses are classified in two groups: semi-rigid or malleable and inflatable or hydraulic.
- Semi-rigid or malleable prostheses consist of two cylinders of soft silicone that, when positioned in the corpora cavernosa, are able to restore penile erection. They can be manipulated by the patients themselves to orient the penis in three different positions: straight or elevated to engage in sexual relations, downwards for urination, or a normal or bent position.
- Inflatable or hydraulic prostheses can be comprised of two or three components. Those with two components consist of two flexible cylinders filled with sterile saline solution which are inserted into the corpora cavernosa and connected to a pump device that is implanted in the scrotum, the function of which is to act as a reservoir. An erection is achieved by squeezing the scrotal pump, which transfers the liquid from the reservoir to the cylinders. To empty the reservoirs and facilitate the softening of the penis, bending the cylinders downwards for a few seconds is all that is required, which causes the liquid to return to the reservoir. The three-component prostheses are the most sophisticated. They are also composed of two cylinders which are implanted in the corpora cavernosa, but with this type of prosthesis the pump is independent of the reservoir. The pump system is placed in the scrotum, while the reservoir is typically placed in the peritoneum or the lateral vesical space.