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Men's Health Blog

Maximizing Success Rates and Minimizing Infection Rates for Penile Implants

Man in gym
Stanton Honig, MD
Professor of Urology
Director of Men’s Health
Yale Urology
330 Orchard Street, Suite 164
New Haven, CT 06511


At Yale Urology, we are constantly improving our techniques for penile prosthesis surgery. Satisfaction rates with intimacy after placement of a penile prosthesis continue to be high - at over 95 percent. However, a small percentage of patients will experience an infection that requires its removal. We are constantly updating our techniques to maximize success and minimize infections.

At Yale New Haven Hospital, over the last several years, we have developed a modified “no touch” surgical technique. During the procedure, we never touch the patient’s skin, which can carry bacteria. This technique has been shown to lower infection rates considerably. In addition, we continue to be at the cutting edge of evaluating techniques to lower infection rates. We are co-authors on a recent paper analyzing optimal antibiotic use in patients who had prosthetic infections. This was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2019.

We’ve also adopted different irrigating solutions that are used at the time of the procedure to lower infection rates. A paper published in this month’s Journal of Sexual Medicine by lead author, Shu Pan, MD, a graduate of our Yale Urology Residency Program and current fellow at Boston University, suggests that certain irrigation solutions may be toxic to tissue and others may be helpful for killing bacteria. At Yale Urology, we have adopted techniques that we perform during the operation to lower infection rates for our patients.

Who is a candidate for a penile prosthesis?

Patients who have failed oral medications or who have failed other minimally invasive therapies, such as penile injection therapy or a vacuum erection device, are excellent candidates for the placement of a penile prosthesis. Patients who have had prostate cancer and have had a robotic prostatectomy or radiation therapy and, as a result, experienced problems with intimacy, are also excellent candidates for a penile prosthesis.

Satisfaction rates with penile implants are over 95 percent. The procedure is done as an outpatient and patients will need time to recuperate, but most are resuming most daily activities within 24-48 hours.

When choosing a urologic surgeon for the placement of a penile prosthesis, you should ask about their experience, institutional infection rates, and whether they have adopted any of the newer techniques that minimize infection. At Yale Urology, we have more than 25 years of experience in surgical placement of penile prostheses, and we are a regional referral center for the most complicated cases.