Implantable medical device helps men maintain erection, control urinary incontinence
By Stephen Blakely, MD
Most men are aware that there are implantable medical devices used to treat damaged joints or diseased hearts, but many men are unaware that there are also implantable medical devices for treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) and male urinary incontinence (the unintended leakage of urine). These devices have been around since the 1970s and have been modernized over the past 40 years to become what we use today.
ED is a very common problem encountered by men as they age. Some men have ED as a result of prostate surgery, however it can also be the result of common medical problems or even smoking. Medications are commonly used to treat ED.
For some men, the medications are either ineffective or unable to be taken. For this group of men, a penile implant can be surgically placed that allows a man to have an erection when he chooses. The most common penile implant is a system which inflates (to make the penis firm) and deflates (to make the penis soft) with the manipulation of a pump that is contained within the scrotum (near the testicles). Studies suggest that about 90 percent of men will be satisfied with this treatment option.
Urinary incontinence, which is the unintentional leakage of urine, is less common in men than in women. It most frequently effects men after prostate surgery. Typically a man will leak a small amount of urine when he coughs, sneezes or exerts himself during work or exercise.
There are two devices that are commonly used to treat this problem. The most common is called an artificial urinary sphincter or urinary control system. This is a surgicall placed system which allows a man to control when he urinates by manipulating a small pump within the scrotum. The second device is called a male sling. It is a plastic mesh material that can be surgically placed under the urethra to apply pressure and prevent leakage. This device does not require any manipulation.
ED and urinary incontinence can be very bothersome and can keep men from enjoying life. With the use of surgical implants, many man can return to the quality of life they expect and deserve. Not all men are candidates for these procedures, but most are. It is important the surgical treatment be tailored to the goals of the man being treated. At Upstate Urology there are urologists trained in prosthetic surgery.
If you are interested in an evaluation, call Upstate Urology at 315-464-1500.