Is that an implant in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Let’s be clear: size doesn’t matter as much as men often think it does, and those online ads pushing penile implants that promise to increase your size are really only planting potentially dangerous ideas.

The truth is that no reputable doctor is ever likely to recommend a penile implant *just* to help a patient gain a couple of inches. Men with penile prostheses (the medical term) can sometimes, though not always, even lose some length with an implant in place.

However, the more important point is that penile implants are overwhelmingly used to help men with Erectile Dysfunction (ED) overcome their challenges around achieving and maintaining an erection. And for this condition, penile implants are an effective and recommended treatment route!

A penile prosthesis is a legitimate and credible treatment for a range of conditions, including Peyronie’s disease, diabetes, and prostate cancer, which can lead to ED and severely limit a man’s ability to have sex “normally.” Often, implants are only considered if medication and other less invasive treatments do not work or aren’t appropriate for a specific patient’s case. But when they are considered and decided as the best mode of treatment for a patient, they often lead to great results.

How do penile implants work?

One of the most common types of penile implants is known as an Inflatable Penile Prosthesis (IPP).

It’s exactly what it sounds like. The prosthesis has two cylinders surgically implanted into the penis, replacing the corpora cavernosa, the spongy tissue that fills with blood to cause an erection under normal circumstances.

Along with the cylinders, a pump is implanted in the scrotum, which is used to fill the cylinders with a sterile saline solution. When the cylinders are empty, the penis is flaccid and hangs normally. When filled, the penis becomes erect. There are different inflatable prostheses, some with a reservoir in the pelvis that holds the saline or with a slightly different scrotal pump, but they all work the same way.

Before having sex, the pump is operated by hand, the prosthesis is inflated, and the result is an erection that looks and feels just like the “real” thing. It’s difficult to tell if a man has a penile implant just by looking at the penis (whether flaccid or erect).

How effective are penile implants?

According to data from Canadian health authorities, implants are highly effective and perform as expected in 90 to 95 percent of cases. About 10 percent of men may experience mechanical issues such as a problem with the pump or a leak in the system, but these issues can often be corrected.

In rare cases (1-2 percent), the device can become infected. If this happens, the implant will be removed and can be replaced either immediately or in a delayed fashion. It is important to choose a surgeon with plenty of experience with penile implants – but this is a process you will work through with your urologist if an implant is a potential option for you. At Peak Men’s Health, Dr. Philip Cheng, the practice’s lead urologist, is also highly skilled and experienced in surgery and can determine whether patients are good candidates for a penile implant and perform the surgery to insert the device.

A prosthesis doesn’t change the sensation of the penis or a man's ability to have an orgasm. Men with penile implants still ejaculate and urinate the same way.

What about sex?

Men with penile implants – and their partners – can enjoy satisfying sex. We touched on this a little bit above, but here’s a little more good news for you. If you have an implant, you will still respond to sexual stimulation and will not lose any sensitivity in the penis. The prosthesis will also not affect the “mechanics” of intercourse. You can still enjoy different positions and normal orgasm and ejaculation.

The only difference is that the penis will remain erect until the device is deflated. You must release the valve by pushing a button on the scrotal pump to drain the fluid from the cylinders and return the penis to its flaccid state.

Can penile implants increase the size of my penis?

This is the million-dollar question. Penile implant advertisements claiming to increase your penis size are likely not credible, and penile implants, inherently, are not meant to increase size. The reality is that a penile prosthesis implanted by an experienced surgeon will result in an erect penis very close in size, if not the same size as a pre-surgery erect penis. So…it’s possible a penile implant could increase penis size slightly, but it’s also possible the implant could result in a slight loss of length (more on that below).

For men with Peyronie’s disease who may have suffered decreased length due to penile curvature, the prosthesis can help restore the penis to, or very close to, its original size. It’s also important to differentiate between actual loss of length and perceived loss of length. For example, a man who puts on significant body weight over time may perceive his penis to be ‘shrinking,’ even if he does not suffer from ED or have an implant.

Still, due to the nature of penile prostheses and the variations in men’s specific cases, a certain loss of length is possible once a prosthesis is implanted.

The bottom line?

The purposes of an inflatable penile prosthesis are to treat erectile dysfunction, not to increase the length of the penis. These devices allow men to engage in sexual activity and have sex with their partners just as they did before their ED diagnosis.

If you’re struggling with ED and looking for a way to get your groove back, consider implants and talk to a urologist who is an experienced prosthetic surgeon. In men with severe ED, sexual satisfaction for the patient and partner has more to do with being able to have sex with pleasure and confidence than the size of the penis.