Erectile dysfunction is a sexual abnormality that prevents the penis from achieving and maintaining an erection during sexual activity. Thankfully, the inflatable penile implant has proven one of the most effective solutions to this issue.
Like all other devices, however, penile implants can malfunction. Baltimore, Maryland penile implant surgeon Dr. Andrew Kramer explains that when penile implants fail, the problem is often traceable to a key implant component known as a pump. This was the case with one of his patients, who came to his clinic complaining about his malfunctioning Coloplast Titan implant.
The pump, the cylinders, and the reservoir
To function as designed, penile implants such as the Coloplast Titan rely on three main components: the fluid-filled reservoir, which is placed in the abdomen; two inflatable cylinders, inserted into the penis; and the pump, positioned just under the scrotal skin.
Squeezing the pump moves the liquid from the reservoir into the cylinders. As the cylinders fill up with this liquid, it expands in length and girth, allowing the penis to achieve an erection. This erection is maintained also thanks to the pump, which comes with a valve that prevents the liquid from moving out of the cylinders and returning to the reservoir.
According to Dr. Andrew Kramer, his patient’s Titan implant had a pump that was no longer able to keep the liquid within the cylinders. This made it impossible for the patient to maintain the erection required for sexual intercourse.
Thankfully, as Dr. Andrew Kramer points out, fixing an implant’s broken pump is a quick, simple, and safe procedure.
The repair of an implant simply involves the removal of the malfunctioning structures and their replacement with new ones.
After making an incision in the scrotal sac, Dr. Andrew Kramer tested the pump and found it to be the source of the problem as he suspected. He then detached the broken pump from the implant, to which he attached a new pump.
At this point in the surgery, it is necessary to ensure every structure is working properly, so Dr. Andrew Kramer tested the device to see if it was capable of emulating a natural erection. Once confident the device would no longer give his patient any problems, he stitched the incision closed.
In addition to repairing the implant, surgeons take measures to guarantee the patient experiences no post-surgery complications. In Dr. Andrew Kramer’s case, he handled the surgical instruments and the patient’s tissue with utmost care, switched gloves when necessary, and consistently irrigated the wound with an antibacterial solution to reduce the risk of infection.
While the penile implant is a reliable solution to erectile dysfunction, Dr. Andrew Kramer’s case proves that such devices aren’t immune to the weathering effects of time and use.
In fact, penile implants have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years, after which a replacement is often necessary. Implants can also malfunction within five years after surgery, although this only happens in 5% of cases.