The Pros and Cons of Penile Implants

Penile implants may sound like an extreme solution for erectile dysfunction, but is it? Often, for men with ED, implants offer a safe option for regaining satisfaction in your sex life and have higher satisfaction rate than more conservative methods.

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, urology specialist William Brant, MD, FACS, FECSM is an expert at identifying the causes of erectile dysfunction and designing a personalized treatment plan to help restore your ability to have an erection. Dr. Brant is currently accepting new patients and will explain more about the pros and cons of penile implants, so you can decide if it’s right for you.

What are penile implants?

Penile implants is a general term that covers a wide array of implants designed to help you get and maintain an erection. If you’re worried that penile implants may be difficult to conceal under clothes, don’t fear — the most common implants only harden your penis when you’re ready to have an erection, otherwise, your penis will remain in a normal, flaccid state.

Some of the most popular types of penile implants include:

  • One-piece implant – This device is made up of semi-rigid cylinders that are placed in the area of your penis responsible for erections. This is the least complicated kind of prosthesis and easiest to use; however, it offers the least natural-looking and natural-feeling erection as compared to the other implants.
  • Two-piece implant – This implant adds a pump in your scrotum to fill the cylinders in your penis with fluid, creating an erection. You can drain the fluid out by bending your penis in a certain direction. Although it’s effective, this device is not the best at maintaining total flaccidity. It may not be a good option if you’re thin or have a larger penis.
  • Three-piece implant – This device involves the same mechanism as the two-piece, but the pump can both inflate and deflate the penis. The pump pulls the fluid from a reservoir placed in the lower abdomen area in order to create the erection and sends it back to the reservoir ro return your penis to a completely flaccid state.  These are, by far, the most commonly used implants in the U.S.

Dr. Brant typically recommends the three-piece penile implant to his patients, unless there is a safety or medical concern that prevents you from getting it. The three-piece device offers great rigidity and flaccidity, and most importantly, gives you total control over your erection as well as allowing you to be totally discreet about having an implant.

What should I consider before getting a penile implant?

Penile implants offer amazing benefits, but there are a few drawbacks you should consider before getting one. Here is the breakdown of the pros and cons.


Some of the pros for getting a penile implant include:

  • Allows you to control your erection
  • Long-lasting, good for up to 20 years, although this depends on a combination of use and luck
  • High patient satisfaction rate
  • Returns your penis to a flaccid state when not in use (by deflating for the two or three-piece or bending the semirigid cylinders for the one-piece)
  • Easy to use
  • Best solution for ED that either doesn’t respond to medication or other treatment, or if those treatments are unsatisfactory.

Each device also comes with its own added benefits. As previously mentioned, the three-piece implant creates the most natural-looking erections, offering both excellent rigidity and total flaccidity. The one-piece device has a very low chance of malfunction (due to its simple construction) and is great for patients with limited dexterity.

Cons of penile implants

The biggest drawback to penile implants is its permanence. In most cases, once you receive a penile implant, you will no longer be able to achieve an erection by natural means. This also applies if you were to have the implant removed.

Other cons of penile implants include:

  • Outpatient procedure, which involves recovery time at home
  • Higher chance of malfunction with the two or three-piece device
  • Less rigid erections (with the one-piece)
  • Constant pressure on the penis (with the one-piece), which may cause injury in certain kinds of patients
  • Slight risk of infection (very rare, as many modern implants come with an antibiotic coating to prevent this from happening).  Using modern techniques and protocols, Dr. Brant’s rate of infection is less than 1% (outside of unusual circumstances).

Dr. Brant takes the time to explore all nonsurgical treatment options for your ED, including medication and therapy, before suggesting penile implants. If you have concerns about penile implants, he answers all your questions and makes sure you understand both the pros and cons of penile implants before proceeding.

The procedure itself only takes about an hour, and you’ll be able to go home afterward. During the procedure, Dr. Brant makes a very small incision on the upper area of your scrotum to be able to insert the implant. The incision heals in about a week, and you’ll be recovered and able to resume having sex after two to six weeks (depending on the procedure and type of implant).

Schedule a Penile Implant Consultation in Salt Lake City

If you’ve been struggling with erectile dysfunction that just won’t respond to treatment, you may be a good candidate for penile implants. Contact our Salt Lake City, Utah, office by calling 801-207-7922 or by sending a message on our website to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brant.

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