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12 January 2006
Penile Implants The “Forgotten” Solution For Erectile Dysfunction
by George Atkinson

Researchers from St Peter's Hospital and The Institute of Urology in London have found that 90 percent of men fitted with a penile prosthesis (implant) were able to have sexual intercourse and 80 percent of them were satisfied with the overall results.

The findings, published in the journal BJU International, were based on a study of nearly 500 men who had the implants fitted. The men were aged between 21 and 78 with an average age of 52.

Drugs are not an option for some men suffering erectile dysfunction, according to the researchers. "Not all men are able to take medication to help them overcome erection problems" explained study author Andrea Minervini. "Implanting a penile prosthesis remains an effective treatment, particularly for patients with medical conditions that cause irreversible erectile dysfunction."

The key findings of the study were:

  • The most common reasons for men choosing penile implants were diabetes (27 percent) and vascular disease (26 percent). Radical pelvic surgery and spinal cord injuries were some of the other reasons cited.

  • The study found that patient satisfaction rates were high, with 81 percent of the men saying they were satisfied with the results.

  • Over 70 percent of patients were satisfied with the actual operation. Dissatisfaction was most likely to be caused by having the prosthesis removed because of problems such as infection or mechanical failure.

  • Nearly a quarter of the men experienced post-operative complications, including short-term urinary retention and superficial wound infections. Major complications included prosthesis infection and mechanical failure.

  • The complication rates varied depending on the type of prosthesis fitted and the nature of the patient's health problem. Men who had suffered pelvic trauma experienced a higher than average rate of prosthesis infection.

While the new anti-impotence drugs are an option for many men, penile implants won't disappear, concluded Minervini. "Penile prostheses still have an important role to play and continue to provide the 'gold standard' for patients with irreversible erectile dysfunction."

Based on material from BJU International.

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