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Recovering from penile implant surgery

Dr. Gregory Lowe, MD photo.

Gregory Lowe, MD

Men's Sexual Medicine and Infertility

Penile implant recovery is often one of the most concerning aspects for patients considering penile implant surgery. Thankfully, the recovery is often quicker and less painful than most patients fear. Penile implant recovery time will vary between patients, with swelling and discomfort improving for some patients faster than others.

Penile implant surgery recovery period

In general, following a penile implant surgery, patients will require around one to two weeks of recovery time. The incision should heal within the first 5 days following surgery. Swelling and discomfort will improve dramatically during the first week. 

Penile implant surgery recovery can be improved with simple measures started in the immediate post-operative period, such as elevating the scrotum and using ice to decrease swelling. Patients should be sure to not place the ice directly on the scrotum or penis as this may cause skin damage and frostbite. Elevating the scrotum can be performed with using an old hand towel or shirt that is tucked between the legs. 

Using supportive underwear or a jock strap, keeping the penis aimed toward the naval and minimizing any rigorous activity for two weeks after the procedure will also speed up penile implant recovery. For the first two weeks following surgery, patients should not do any heavy lifting or strenuous activity.

Activating and deactivating a penile implant

Most physicians will not have the patient perform penile implant activation and deactivation in the first two weeks following surgery. This period of healing time improves comfort at initial use. During this recovery time, pulling down on the pump in the scrotum can help it be positioned in a more dependent location that will be easier to reach when a man is fully healed. 

The penile implant is usually activated 2-4 weeks after surgery, and is typically first performed in the physician’s office. The physician or his/her delegate will instruct patients on the initial penile implant activation and deactivation process. In my practice, I ensure every patient receives their sample pump and card. There are also models available for patients to visualize the process.  

Following this in-office activation, patients are instructed to inflate and deflate the device at least once per day at home. This provides a chance for the patient to become comfortable with the process and will also assist to maximize the size of the inflated penis following surgery. It does take time for some patients to gain confidence in the activation process–if they become discouraged or frustrated, they should simply ask their physician for more guidance.

It does take time for some patients to gain confidence in the activation process–if they become discouraged or frustrated, they should simply ask their physician for more guidance.

Some patients will fear damaging their penile implant if they struggle initially to activate or deactivate the prosthesis. The good news is that damage to the penile implant is very unlikely in this setting and commonly the patient is able to have excellent function with a little more education on how to use the pump. If a patient has concern that the device is not working, it is important to discuss this with their surgeon. Long-term problems with the penile implant are uncommon and often able to be corrected in the office.

Possible penile implant procedure side effects

Penile implant side effects include hematoma formation around the pump, prolonged swelling, discomfort that lasts longer than a few weeks, or in 1% of cases, an infection at the prosthesis.1 Many of these side effects will resolve without intervention. Risk of infection is minimized through selection of a penile implant with an antibiotic coating as well as having the procedure performed by an experienced implanter.

Improved erections and patient satisfaction

Penile implant recovery is not a difficult time for most patients. Simple activities like scrotal elevation and rest can significantly improve comfort and hasten recovery time. Following this short recovery, patients can enjoy a lifetime of improved erections and the satisfaction of returning to sexual activity without the fear of failing.

Patient stories: Danny

The penile implant is a psychological benefit for Danny.

This physician is a Boston Scientific consultant but was not compensated for the creation of this article.

Dr. Gregory Lowe, MD photo.

Gregory Lowe, MD
OhioHealth Urology Physicians
500 Thomas Ln. Suite 3G
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 788-2870

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  1. FDA/PDP N970012-S065.