Frequently Asked Questions
QUESTIONS ABOUT ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION
WHAT IS Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the persistent inability to achieve or maintain a penile erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance1. ED can limit your intimacy, affect your self-esteem and impact your most important relationships. Beyond the physical manifestations, ED causes emotional damage and there is a strong link found between ED and depression2.
HOW COMMON IS Erectile Dysfunction?
ED is a surprisingly common condition. It is estimated that half of all men between the ages of 40 and 70 will have it to some degree.3
WHAT CAUSES Erectile Dysfunction?
While there are real physical and psychological reasons for ED, there’s no single cause. The chart below outlines the most common causes of ED4.
HOW IS ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION DIAGNOSED?
You may have to start the conversation with your doctor to get an answer to the question, “Do I have ED?” A personal history and physical exam set the groundwork for most conditions. Lab tests and other tests may identify a source such as diabetes, coronary artery disease or other conditions that affect the nerves and blood flow to the penis.
IF I HAVE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION SYMPTOMS, COULD I HAVE HEART DISEASE?
Hardening of the arteries caused by plaque buildup – atherosclerosis – limits blood flow to various parts of the body. The arteries supplying blood to the penis are much smaller than the ones supplying blood to the heart. As a result, heart disease may first show itself as difficulty achieving an erection5. Learn More
WHY DOES DIABETES CAUSE ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION SYMPTOMS?
Diabetes damages the blood vessels and nerves that supply the penis with blood to form an erection. The constant change in blood sugar levels can also cause nerve damage, which can lead to loss of sensation in the feet and hands, and can affect having sex6. Learn More
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SIDE EFFECTS FROM PROSTATE CANCER TREATMENT?
The two most feared side effects of a radical prostatectomy are loss of erections and bladder leakage. These side effects can occur, but there are successful treatment options available. Also, after total
removal of the prostate, there is no ejaculation, although there is the sensation of climax and orgasm7.
WHEN CAN A MAN RESUME SEXUAL ACTIVITY AFTER PROSTATE CANCER TREATMENT?
If the cancer is detected early and patients are treated by an experienced surgeon using nerve-sparing techniques, then sexual activity may return to normal after surgery. This can take three to six months
with continued improvement for two or three years. If sexual activity does not return on its own, there are many different ways to support an active sex life (medications, pumps, injections and penile implants). Learn More
HOW IS ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION TREATED?
ED treatment is available to all men with ED. Oral medications are a common first step, but they don’t work for everyone. If men don’t respond to oral medications, they may try other options such as injections, pellets, topical cream, pump devices and penile implants.
QUESTIONS ABOUT PENILE IMPLANTS
WILL MY PENIS LOOK DIFFERENT TO ME OR WILL OTHERS NOTICE A PENILE IMPLANT?
Once in place, your implant will be completely undetectable. It’s fully concealed in the body. No one will know unless you tell them—even in the locker room.
IS THE INFLATION PROCESS PAINFUL?
To inflate a penile implant, you squeeze the pump in your scrotum, which will send fluid into the cylinders in the penis. This requires good manual dexterity but should not be painful. If you experience pain, contact your doctor9.
WHAT WILL MY PARTNER THINK?
When inflated, the implant makes the penis stiff and rigid, similar to a natural erection. Your erection will last as long as you desire. And you’ll still share the same intimate experience. Typically, ejaculation and sensation will feel similar to the way they felt before the implant10.
DO I NEED TO GO TO A SPECIALIST TO GET A PENILE IMPLANT?
Yes, eventually you need to see an Implanter. At first you can speak with your primary care doctor about erectile dysfunction treatments. Later, you will discuss the situation with an Implanter or clinic with experience in all forms of treatment for ED, including penile implants10. Locate a physician in your area.
WHAT’S THE PENILE IMPLANT SURGERY LIKE?
Penile implant surgery generally takes about an hour. Typically, it is performed in a hospital setting. The duration of your expected hospital stay should be discussed with your physician. While you’re under anesthesia, a small incision is made at the base of the penis or in the scrotum, and the implant is placed through that incision. Most men experience only minor discomfort during the healing process10.
HOW LONG IS THE RECOVERY TIME AFTER ED SURGERY, AND WHEN CAN I HAVE INTERCOURSE?
Most men return home within a day of ED implant surgery and are back to all their normal activities within a week, typically having intercourse around 6 weeks post-surgery10. Your physician will discuss this with you in more detail.
HOW LONG DOES AN IMPLANT LAST? WILL I EVER NEED TO REPLACE IT?
It is impossible to predict how long a particular implant will function in a particular patient. As with any medical device, penile implants are subject to wear and mechanical failure over time. A recent study of more than 39,000 patients showed that the 7-year mechanical survival of an AMS penile implant is greater than 94.5%10.
To prolong the life of your implant, follow the advice of your urologist.
WILL MY IMPLANT SET OFF AIRPORT SECURITY?
An implant should not affect your ability to travel and to go through airport security. Of course, implants like those for knees or hips contain metal and will be detected by a wand or a walk-through scanner. Since most inflatable penile implants have minimal metal parts, they should not set off a metal detector. Some of the non-inflatable penile implants may, however, contain more metal. You will receive a patient ID card that identifies you as a medical device patient. To help avoid these types of situations, just carry it with you.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF GETTING A PENILE IMPLANT?
Because each type of implant offers unique features, you will want to discuss the risks and benefits of each device with your doctor. Then choose the option that is right for you. View Important Safety Information.
ARE BOSTON SCIENTIFIC’S PENILE IMPLANTS MRI COMPATIBLE?
Yes, AMS implants are MRI compatible.
QUESTIONS ABOUT INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR PENILE IMPLANTS
- Erectile dysfunction. NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/erectiledysfunction.html. Accessed May 2015.
- DiMeo PJ. Psychosocial and relationship issues in men with erectile dysfunction. Urol Nurs. 2006 Dec;26(6):442-6. Diabetes & Metabolism. 2012;38:1.
- NHS Choices website: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Erectile-dysfunction/Pages/Introduction.aspx Apr 2017
- Shabsigh R, MD, Lue TF, MD. A Clinician’s Guide to ED Management. New York: Haymarket Media Inc.; 2006. http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/sup/. Accessed May 2015.
- Jackson G, Rosen RC, et al. The second Princeton consensus on sexual dysfunction and cardiac risk: new guidelines for sexual medicine. J Sex Med. 2006 Jan;3(1):28–36.
- Malavige LS, Levy JC. Erectile dysfunction in diabetes mellitus. J Sex Med. 2009;6(5):1232-47.
- Catalona, Dr. William J. Conditions after a Radical Prostatectomy. http://www.drcatalona.com/qa/faq_rp-conditions.asp. Accessed May 2015.
- Catalona, Dr. William J. Sexual Potency After a Radical Prostatectomy. http://www.drcatalona.com/qa/faq_rp-potency.asp. Urological Research Foundation Website. Accessed December 22, 2014.
- AMS 700™ Patient Manual. Information and Instructions for Patients Considering an Inflatable Penile Prosthesis. American Medical Systems, LLC. 2012.
- Penile Implants-Erectile Dysfunction. Sex Health Matters Website: http://www.sexhealthmatters.org/erectile-dysfunction/penile-implants-erectile-dysfunction/P7. Accessed December 3, 2014.
- Enemchukwu EA, Kaufman MR, Whittam BM, et al. Comparative revision rates of inflatable penile prosthesis using woven Dacron™ fabric cylinders. J Urol. 2013 Dec;190(6):2189-93.
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