Surgery for Erectile Dysfunction (Implants)

Surgery for erectile dysfunction (ED) isn't common, but it may be the best treatment in some cases. During surgery, your healthcare provider places an implant (also called a prosthesis) inside the spongy chambers of your penis. Then, the implant can be used to provide an erection.

Mechanical implants

This type of implant is easy to use. Bendable rods can make your penis appear erect. When not in use, the rods can be bent downward. Some implants have joints that lock the implant into position.

Side view of penis with malleable implant in place, outline shows relaxed position.

Inflatable implants

This is the most complex type of implant. It allows your penis to look and feel either erect or flaccid. You pump fluid from a storage bulb to make your penis erect. A release valve makes your penis flaccid again. Using the device correctly takes some skill and practice.

Side view of penis with pump inflatable implant inside.

Risks and possible complications

All surgery has some risk. Possible complications from surgery for ED include:

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Failure or leakage of the prosthesis

  • Wearing down of the prosthesis

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider
  • Chills
  • Trouble peeing
  • Burning when you pee
  • Increasing pain or pain that isn't eased by medicine
  • Redness, swelling, or drainage at your surgery site
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Upset stomach (nausea) and vomiting