Penile Prosthesis Complications: Planning, Prevention, and Decision Making

Nickolas D. Scherzer, Brian Dick, Andrew T. Gabrielson, Laith M. Alzweri, Wayne J.G. Hellstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Introduction: Inflatable penile prosthesis (IPP) is an established treatment option for men with erectile dysfunction (ED) refractory to medical therapy. Standardization of surgical technique and improvements in device construction have reduced all-cause complication rates to less than 5% in recent reports. Nonetheless, complications do exist, and can strongly impact morbidity and the quality of life of patients. Prosthetic urologists must be aware of the constellation of complications that can arise during or after IPP placement. Aim: To provide a comprehensive review of penile prosthesis complications and discuss preventative strategies, as well as proper preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative decision making. Methods: A review of the available literature from 1973 to 2018 was performed using PubMed with regard to IPP complications. Main Outcome Measures: We reviewed publications that outlined preoperative planning strategies and the following IPP complications: hematoma, floppy glans, corporal fibrosis, corporal perforation and crossover, urethral injury, infection, impending erosion, and glandular ischemia. Results: Careful patient and device selection, setting realistic expectations of postsurgical outcomes, and adherence to a perioperative checklist is essential in the preoperative period. Intraoperatively, anticipate corporal fibrosis situations and always dilate laterally during corporal passage to reduce the risk of crossover and urethral injury. Limit perioperative antiplatelet therapy, apply compressive dressing, use a closed suction drain if indicated, and leave the device partially inflated postoperatively to reduce risk of hematoma. After surgery, monitor patients for potential complications that may warrant device explantation or salvage: IPP infection, glans ischemia, and impending erosion. Conclusions: By using evidence and expert opinion-based decision-making strategies in the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative period of IPP placement, surgeons can reduce the risk of complications and dissatisfaction, even in ED patients with multiple comorbid conditions. Scherzer ND, Dick B, Gabrielson AT, et al. Penile Prosthesis Complications: Planning, Prevention, and Decision Making. Sex Med Rev 2019;7:349–359.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-359
Number of pages11
JournalSexual Medicine Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Penile Prosthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


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