The surgical insertion of a penile prosthesis is usually the last resort for men for whom other impotence treatments haven't worked. In this surgery, a small pump device about the size of a walnut is implanted in one side of the scrotum, and two tubes extend up either side of the penis. In the newer inflatable devices, which are the most popular today, manually pumping the device forces fluid into the tubes and creates an erection. The tubes are easily emptied using hand pressure.
Unfortunately, the devices destroy the tissue inside the penis that allows erection. So once a man has a prosthesis, other treatments for impotence will no longer work. Therefore, effectiveness and customer satisfaction are big issues!
Researchers attending the annual meeting of the American Urological Association reported, however, that most men with penile prostheses are quite satisfied with them.
In a follow-up study, led by researchers at the University of North Carolina Medical School, records of 372 men, who had received one of the most popular devices (AMS 700CX) at one of seven different U.S. medical centers, were evaluated for reliability of the prosthesis. Later, 207 men were interviewed about their experience with the device.
The prostheses were functioning properly in 92 percent of recipients after three years, and in 86 percent after five years. When interviewed, 86 percent of the men expressed satisfaction with the device, and 88 percent said they would recommend it to other patients.
These results agree with a study reported last year by the Health Technology Assessment Agency of the Spanish Ministry of Health. These researchers reviewed more than 40 articles from medical journals to evaluate effectiveness of these devices and patient satisfaction with them.
Looking at a variety of brands and designs, the Spanish team estimated that the devices were, on the average, about 80 percent effective, with the newer inflatable devices up to 100 percent effective. Surgical complications and infections were low. Sexual satisfaction for patients with the devices ranged from 72 to 96 percent; again, with the newer inflatables getting the highest ratings.
In the United States alone, about 20,000 penile prostheses are implanted each year. It's good to know that for most men, they work!