Framing the Conversation Around the Inflatable Penile Prosthesis

Framing the Conversation Around the Inflatable Penile Prosthesis

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The inflatable penile prosthesis (IPP), or penile implant, is a transformative device that can help men with chronic erectile dysfunction (ED) regain their erections and improve their sexual health. Its ease of use, high satisfaction rates, and reliable long-lasting results make it a natural treatment option for men who are struggling with ED.

Nevertheless, many patients may feel nervous about IPP placement and have a lot of questions about the process. This is why it is so important for health care providers to take the time to frame the conversation around IPP and help their patients set realistic expectations during preoperative counseling.

The following are some important evidence-based talking points to address during an introductory conversation about IPP with a patient:

  • Historically, IPP was reserved for patients who had not responded to conservative treatment options like oral ED medications and vacuum erection devices, but this is not necessarily the case anymore. In fact, the American Urological Association’s ED guidelines state that it is valid for patients to begin with any ED treatment they choose, as long as they have a clear understanding of the benefits, risks, and burdens involved.
  • Many people do not know that IPP exists as a treatment for ED, but in reality, it is a well-researched, effective, and relatively safe option for men who struggle with ED.
  • IPP is a permanent treatment for ED. Once patients get an implant, the surgery is not reversible.
  • With a penile implant, an individual can achieve reliable on-demand erections that do not require excessive preparation or effort. What’s more, IPP does not change the appearance of the penis, making it an inconspicuous treatment option.
  • IPP placement is a relatively safe procedure with a low risk of complications or side effects. As an outpatient procedure, patients are usually able to go home the same day.
  • IPP is a very durable treatment. New devices last for years, and patients rarely need to get their devices replaced.
  • Previous research shows very high satisfaction rates among men after IPP implantation, ranging from 75-98%. Partner satisfaction with IPP is also very high.

These are just a few talking points that urologists and/or other health care providers can use to frame the conversation around IPP placement. Resources such as the HARD: The Fight to Solve ED video series can help patients better understand the implications of getting an IPP as well as clear up misinformation around ED and IPP implantation.


Burnett, A.L., Nehra, A., Breau, R.H., et al. (2018). Erectile dysfunction: AUA guideline. J Urol 200: 633.

Narang, G. L., Figler, B. D., & Coward, R. M. (2017). Preoperative counseling and expectation management for inflatable penile prosthesis implantation. Translational andrology and urology6(Suppl 5), S869–S880.

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