50 Years of Erectile Dysfunction: How Far Have We Come?

Jeffrey A. Albaugh


Urol Nurs. 2019;39(5):262-264. 

In This Article

Implanted Penile Prosthesis

One of the first treatments for ED was the penile implant. Implants come in various designs, including rigid, semi-rigid, or inflatable. The three-piece inflatable device remains the most popular model. The device, a self-contained hydraulic system, consists of two cylinders that are placed within each corpora cavernosum and an inflate-deflate pump in the scrotum. A reservoir, filled with normal saline, is tucked up into the retro-peritoneal space. Two-piece inflatable devices, which have the reservoir partially in the paired cylinders placed in the corporal bodies, are also available. The positionable penile prosthesis has an innovative design providing three features: ease of positioning, cosmetic concealment, and rigidity for sexual intercourse. Over the years, numerous modifications have been made to improve the concealment (semi-rigid) and durability (inflatable) of the penile prostheses.

Different forms of the penile implant have been fashioned since about 1936, with various changes over the years leading to the malleable implant (Jonas, 2001). The inflatable penile implant was introduced in 1973 by Dr. F. Brantley Scott from Baylor College of Medicine as a definitive urologic treatment for ED (Scott, Bradley, & Timm, 1973). Changes in the implant over the last 50 years seek to minimize side effects, such as infection, while maximizing and easing function.