As penile implant surgeon Dr. Andrew Kramer can attest to, given the number of patients he treats every year, erectile dysfunction is more common than most people think. It’s for this reason penile implants exist, and why the manufacturers of such devices make continuous efforts to improve their products.
Despite their complexity, durability, and effectiveness as a solution to male impotence, penile implants can get damaged. Like all devices, these implants deteriorate in quality over time, generally requiring replacement between 8 and 12 years. Frequent use may shorten this lifespan further. Though far less likely to occur, penile implants can also malfunction within the first five years after surgery.
Take, for example, this Coloplast Titan penile prosthesis. After one of its key structures stopped working, the patient sought the assistance of Baltimore, Maryland surgeon Dr. Andrew Kramer.
The Titan prosthetic
Designed to emulate the performance and appearance of a natural erection, the Coloplast Titan implant is an inflatable penile prosthesis whose fluid-filled system relies on silicone and a durable, flexible biopolymer material known as Bioflex.
The Titan consists of three main structures: a reservoir that’s inserted into the abdomen, a pair of penile cylinders that are placed within the penis, and a pump that’s positioned just under the scrotal skin.
Pressing the pump moves the fluid from the reservoir into the cylinders, allowing the penis to go erect. The penis stays long and stiff thanks to a valve that prevents the fluid from returning to the reservoir. In the case of Dr. Andrew Kramer’s patient, however, the pump could no longer perform this function, robbing the patient of the ability to maintain an erection.
Repairing the broken pump
Upon closer examination, Dr. Andrew Kramer discovered the specific problem with the pump: its release valve was broken. Therefore, every time the patient squeezed the pump, the fluid refused to stay in the cylinders and immediately returned to the reservoir.
Resolving the issue required and quick and simple surgical procedure.
Dr. Andrew Kramer first made an incision in the scrotal sac, which allowed him to gain access to the pump and cylinders.
Next, he detached the old pump from the cylinders, to which he then attached the new pump. Dr. Andrew Kramer tested this replacement device to make sure the fluid that flowed out of the reservoir stayed in the cylinders. Once he was confident everything was working properly, he inserted the cylinders and pump into the penis and scrotum and stitched the opening close.
To prevent post-surgery complications such as infections, Dr. Andrew Kramer took several safety measures throughout the surgery, including irrigating the wound using an antibiotic and switching to new gloves whenever appropriate. He also made sure to exercise extreme caution when handling the patient’s tissue, penile implant, and surgical instruments.
From heart disease to diabetes, erectile dysfunction has numerous causes. Thankfully, penile implants continue to prove a reliable solution to a problem many men face, and while such devices can break, repair often entails a relatively quick and safe surgical procedure as seen above.