Types of Penile Prostheses

There are two types of penile implants: inflatable and semi-rigid. The inflatable prosthesis is the most common type of penile implant used by surgeons at Chesapeake Urology. They are more natural than semi-rigid prostheses as they can be inflated to create an erection and then deflated. Inflatable prostheses also minimize any possible damage to the inside of the penis caused by constant pressure, which can be an issue with semi-rigid implants.  The two types of prostheses our surgeons typically implant include:

The Two-Piece Inflatable Prosthesis

The two-piece inflatable prosthesis consists of a fluid-filled pair of cylinders and a small pump

The two-piece inflatable prosthesis consists of a fluid-filled pair of cylinders that are implanted in the penis along with a small pump implanted in the scrotum.

To get an erection, you simply squeeze and release the pump several times, filling the cylinders with fluid and creating a rigid, natural erection. Most men find this device easy to use, inflating it to provide rigidity, and deflating it for concealment. And, notably, 90% of partners would recommend the two-piece inflatable prosthesis to other couples.

  • Totally concealed within the body
  • One-step deflation
  • Simple to use
  • Requires a slightly less invasive surgery than a three-piece penile prosthesis
  • 90% of partners would recommend it to other couples


  • Requires some manual dexterity
  • Cylinders remain partially filled with fluid when deflated


Three-piece Inflatable Prosthesis

The three-piece prosthesis has two inflatable cylinders, a pump and a reservoir

The three-piece inflatable penile prosthesis creates a firmer erection than its two-piece counterpart. This fluid-filled implant features two inflatable cylinders implanted in the penis, a pump placed in the scrotum and a reservoir implanted in the lower abdomen. When you are ready to have sex, you pump the fluid from the reservoir into the cylinders to create a rigid erection. After sexual intercourse, you release the valve inside of the scrotum to drain the fluid back into the reservoir to return to flaccidity.

  • Provides a natural erection as well as a firmer erection as compared to the two-piece inflatable implant
  • Completely concealed within the body
  • When deflated, the cylinders are soft and flaccid
  • Has a 92% patient satisfaction rate


  • Requires a more involved surgery than other implants
  • Has more mechanical parts that can malfunction
  • Requires some manual dexterity


Semi-rigid Implants

The semi-rigid penile implant

Semi-rigid penile implants are less commonly utilized than the inflatable penile prostheses. The semi-rigid rods are always firm.  This prosthesis is used by bending the penis away from the body to create and erection and then bent toward the body to conceal the device.


  • Semi-rigid implants are less complicated and easier to surgically implant than inflatable devices
  • Have less risk of mechanical failure


  • A penis that is always slightly rigid
  • Creates an erection that is not as naturally rigid as with an inflatable device
  • More difficult to conceal than an inflatable implant