There are several types of implants. In each case, the implant goes into the erection bodies of the penis and converts the non-functioning penis into a functioning penis.
In this case, flexible (a good analogy is a goose-neck lamp) or semirigid cylinders are placed into the erection bodies. The penis is rigid enough for sex but soft (flaccid) enough that it can be concealed in the clothes.
- Benefits: least expensive type of implant, fewer mechanical parts to fail
- Downsides: least natural erection, no antibiotic coating; worst rigidity; worst flaccidity
- Good for: men with poor hand function (with a condition like multiple sclerosis) or men with buried penis who need a prosthetic to hold on a condom-style catheter
In this case, the cylinders are filled with fluid, and there is a pump in the scrotum (totally concealed, like a third small testicle). The man uses the pump to get an erection, and bends the penis to move the fluid out and become flaccid again.
- Benefits: excellent rigidity; no need to place any parts in the pelvis/abdomen
- Downsides: no antibiotic coating; not as good flaccidity; not good for very thin men; not good for larger penises (because of poor flaccidity)
- Good for: men who have extremely complex pelvic issues that make placement of a three-piece (see below) undesirable, (such as men who have had certain pelvic crush injuries or those with complex vascular reconstruction; very few men are in this category.)
These are by far the most commonly used devices. There are fluid-filled cylinders, a pump in the scrotum (that has parts for both pumping up and deflating the cylinders), and a reservoir in the pelvis/abdomen that holds the fluid when the penis is flaccid.
- Benefits: excellent rigidity and flaccidity; total control over the erection; antibiotic coatings available
- Downsides: need for placement of reservoir
- Good for most men with erectile problems, including those from prostate cancer, diabetes, vascular disease, spinal cord injury, pelvic trauma, transplant patients, and others