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Surgical Procedures for Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence)

Surgery is an option when all other efforts to restore or bypass your erectile dysfunction have failed. In fact, there are several possible alternatives that will permit you to have satisfactory sexual intercourse.

Restoring erections is often sufficient to restore complete sexual function.

Penile Prostheses (Implants)

Penile Implant

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This prosthesis (implant) consists of 1 or 2 bendable rods that are inserted into the penis. Once installed and healed, the penis and the prosthesis can be bent into position. It can be placed upward for sexual activity, then returned to a normal state.


There are 3 pieces to this device:

  • A balloon-like cylinder that fits into the penis
  • A pump that is placed into the scrotum
  • A reservoir of liquid that is placed nearby, inside the pelvis

The penis is non-erect until the pump is repeatedly squeezed, filling the balloon from the reservoir. After intercourse, the balloon in the penis can be deflated.

The device is implanted under general or regional anesthesia. An incision is made between the penis and scrotum where the device is inserted. Additional incisions may be made to insert the accessory parts in their proper positions.

Vascular Reconstruction

If circulation is reduced to your penis due to vascular disease, reconstruction of your arteries may restore erectile function. This is complex surgery which is performed only in a few hospitals in the US. Occasionally, in these rare cases, the vascular defect can be repaired.


Erectile dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated December 15, 2017. Accessed March 9, 2018.
Erectile dysfuntion. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated June 2017. Accessed March 9, 2018.
How is ED treated? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed March 9, 2018.
Rew KT, Heidelbaugh JJ. Erectile dysfunction. Am Fam Physician. 2016;94(10):820-827.
Treatment of erectile dysfunction. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: Updated July 2017. Accessed March 9, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 3/15/2015

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