When men consider a penile implant to permanently treat their ED, they may wonder how their penis will look before and after surgery. As a man, I understand this question. As a physician, I know that what a penis with an implant looks like erect and flaccid is only part of the picture. Several decisions need to be made in choosing the right fit (literally and figuratively) when pursuing penile implant surgery. Although the most common implant a man will pursue is the inflatable penile implant, one needs to consider several factors, including the patient’s ability to use their hands along with what the erection will look like before and after the surgery. A universal truth among all types of penile implants is that they are totally concealed in the body. All parts of the devices are implanted inside the body.
Operation and images of the AMS 700™ Inflatable Penile Implant
A three-piece implant like the AMS 700™ Implant has three components. This three-piece penile implant has two hollow cylinders that look like heavy-duty balloons that are surgically implanted into the penis. A small pump and valve are inserted into the scrotum to transfer fluid into the cylinders, which causes them to inflate and become hard like a hose under pressure and produce an erection. The third component is a small reservoir containing a sterile solution that is inserted into the lower abdomen. This is where the saltwater or saline solution fluid resides when the penis is soft or flaccid. The fluid is pumped into the hollow cylinders in the penis via a series of tubes inside the body. The resulting erection is hard, full and straight. As you can see by the pictures, the penis looks like it has a natural erection.
When the erection is no longer required, the release valve on the pump in the scrotum is gently squeezed.
When the erection is no longer required, the release valve on the pump in the scrotum is gently squeezed to release the fluid back into the reservoir located in the lower abdomen. There are distinct advantages to the three-piece implant. It creates the most authentic-looking erection. The device is simple to use and enables the penis to return to a flaccid state after sexual activity has ended. Because a larger amount of fluid is transferred into the cylinders to obtain an erection, the AMS 700 Implant offers the possibility of superior rigidity. It also offers the best softness of the penile shaft when not in use and is often the most comfortable. Penises are flaccid a majority of the time so soft feel and total invisibility when not erect is an important consideration. As with all styles of penis implant, there is no waiting time required for an erection, so romantic spontaneity is preserved.
Photos of penile implants
Penile implant photos of the AMS 700™ Implant, prepped and ready for procedure.
Boston Scientific AMS 700™ Penile Implant picture of patient after surgery with penis in soft and flaccid state and pumped, in erect state. These penile implant photos show that the cylinders, reservoir and pump are not visible when the device is deflated or inflated.
Post-surgery penile implant photos of patient’s AMS 700™ Implant with penis in flaccid and erect states. All patients are unique. The AMS 700™ Implant is currently the only penile implant on the market with cylinders that expand in girth and length.
(Images courtesy Dr. Singh.)
Boston Scientific offers two different three-piece implants. The AMS 700 LGX™ Implant is the only penile implant on the market with cylinders designed to expand in girth and length. The AMS 700 CX Penile Prosthesis allows controlled expansion of the cylinders which optimizes girth. In addition, I often use the AMS 700 CX Implant model to help treat men who have erectile dysfunction and who also suffer from curved erections.
Photos of a two-piece inflatable penile implant
For men who are looking for erections like when the penis engorges with blood (a more “physiologic” erection) where the penis stays flaccid until intimacy, there are two options: two-piece and three-piece implants. The AMS Ambicor™ Inflatable Penile Implant, a two-piece inflatable implant, consists of two hollow cylinders that are surgically inserted into the penis. Outside the body, photos show that this penile implant looks like a set of balloons connected by tubes to a pump. The small pump is inserted into the scrotum.
The pump transfers fluid into the cylinders inside the penis, causing the cylinders to inflate and create an erection.
By gently squeezing the pump implanted in the scrotum several times, the pump transfers fluid into the cylinders inside the penis, causing the cylinders to inflate and create an erection. The fluid in the cylinders can be transferred back by gently bending the penis downwards for about 10 seconds. This type of penile implant creates a natural-looking erection. It enables the penis to return to a flaccid state and enables excellent concealment. In addition, a surgeon may particularly encourage placement of an Ambicor Implant in a patient with a current or future pelvic organ transplant, limited finger or hand control or with known extensive prior lower belly surgery.
AMS Ambicor Implant
The AMS Ambicor™ Implant consists of a pair of fluid-filled cylinders that are implanted in the penis connected to a pump that is implanted in the scrotum. Squeezing and releasing the pump moves fluid to the cylinders, creating a rigid erection.
(Photos by Boston Scientific.)
What does a malleable penile implant look like?
The most basic model of implant per its simple mechanical design and relative ease to surgically place, is the Spectra™ Concealable Penile Implant by Boston Scientific. It is a semi-rigid penile implant. The Spectra Implant is just a pair of bendable cylinders placed inside the penis. Outside the body, this implant looks like a pair of simple rods. The implant can be manually lifted up for intercourse and manually pushed down when not in use. Sexual intercourse with a bendable or malleable penile implant feels natural.
Sexual intercourse with a bendable or malleable penile implant feels natural.
It is very easy to use, doesn’t have any mechanical parts and may be best suited for men who have problems with dexterity. When the rods are positioned for sexual intercourse, the penis looks straight and it is hard. There are certain disadvantages to this implant as the penis remains hard and full at all times, even when it is bent downward and resting against the body, so concealment under tight clothing may be considered a problem for some men. Note that the implant does not alter or enhance the length or width of the penis. Some of the three-piece cylinder implants expand in length and/or girth.
The Spectra™ Penile Implant consists of a pair of semi-rigid cylinders that are placed inside the penis. The implant can be manually lifted up for intercourse and then manually pushed down when not in use. (Photo by Boston Scientific.)
Each physician specialist will be able to make recommendations based upon their experience and each unique patient. Yes, what a penis looks like erect and flaccid is a consideration.
In the right set of surgical hands, a urologist who specializes in penile prosthetic surgery offers a restoration procedure that results in a very small scar, preservation of the length and girth of the natural penis and a long-term satisfactory solution to erectile dysfunction. In my experience, inflatable implants offer the highest satisfaction for both the male patient and his partner. Each physician specialist will be able to make recommendations based upon their experience and each unique patient. Yes, what a penis looks like erect and flaccid is a consideration. However, picking the right implant is a necessary and shared decision between the patient and his urologist. In my practice, our Men’s Health team takes the time to review each option, and even allows the patient to see and feel the differences of each penile implant option before making a decision.
This physician is a Boston Scientific consultant but was not compensated for the creation of this article.