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Choose Your Champion: Inflatable vs. Non-Inflatable Penile Implants

Exploring Your Penile Implant Options

Correcting erectile dysfunction with a penile implant is more common than you might imagine. Before the advent of little blue pills, penile implants were the standard treatment. There are significant benefits and various options available with penile implants. This article will explore the differences between inflatable and non-inflatable penile implants.

Read on to learn more about penile implants, discover the differences between penile implant options, and determine which one is the best option for your body and life.

What Exactly is a Penile Implant and What Does it Treat?

A photo of a man looking at his reflection on a mirror.

Penile implants are devices surgically placed into the penis, helping you achieve and maintain an erection. These implants do not affect your ability to feel sensation, orgasm, or urinate. In the United States, Boston Scientific, which acquired American Medical Systems (AMS), and Coloplast are the two primary manufacturers of penile implants. Titan Implant and Himplant by Penuma provider Dr. Taj collaborates with these companies to provide optimal patient care.

What Should I Consider Before Getting a Penile Implant?

Penile implants offer significant benefits, but there are some drawbacks to consider. Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons.


  • You can control when you have an erection.
  • Implants can last up to 20 years, depending on use and other factors.
  • Many patients are highly satisfied with the results.
  • The three-piece implant provides the most natural-looking erection, with excellent rigidity and flaccidity.
  • Implants are user-friendly.
  • Ideal for erectile dysfunction that does not respond to medication or other treatments.


  • Once you receive a penile implant, you will generally no longer be able to achieve a natural erection, even if the implant is removed.
  • The procedure is outpatient, but recovery takes time at home.
  • Two or three-piece devices have a higher chance of malfunction.
  • One-piece implants may provide less rigid erections.
  • One-piece implants exert constant pressure on the penis, which can cause injury in certain patients.
  • Although rare, there is a slight risk of infection. Modern implants often have an antibiotic coating, with less than a 1% infection rate.

What Types of Penile Implants Are Available?

There are 2 main types of penile implants available today. These include malleable penile implants or noninflatable implants and, the most popular, the inflatable. 

Let’s look at what each implant achieves and learn more about how they differ:

Malleable Penile (Noninflatable) Implants

A photo of Malleable Penile (Noninflatable) Implants

A malleable or semi-rigid penile implant, such as the AMS Tactra or Coloplast Genesis, is a simpler device with fewer moving parts. It can be manually adjusted to the desired position for sexual activity or concealment. While it does not inflate or deflate, it is designed to be both soft to the touch and functionally robust. Due to its straightforward design, the surgery and recovery time for a malleable penile implant are typically faster compared to those for an inflatable penile implant.

Inflatable Implants

An image of Inflatable Implants

An inflatable penile implant, such as the AMS 700 or Coloplast Titan, is designed to mimic a natural erection and allows the penis to be both highly flaccid and rigid. This type of implant consists of a scrotal pump, about the size of a small marble, and a fluid reservoir located in the lower abdomen. The pump, hidden within the scrotal skin, is pressed to transfer fluid into the cylinders, causing an erection. After intercourse, pressing the release button returns the fluid to the reservoir, bringing the penis back to a flaccid state.

The Available Inflatable Devices

Both types of hydraulic inflatable devices have hollow cylinders implanted within the erection chambers of the penis. To create an erection, these devices use a pump to transfer saline into the cylinders via tubing. As fluid is pumped into the cylinders, they expand, causing the penis to become erect. The primary difference between the two-piece and three-piece penile implants is the location of fluid storage.

2-Piece Inflatable Implants

The two-piece inflatable implant is the simplest of the two types, making up about 15% of penile implants used worldwide. It consists of paired cylinders and a fluid-filled internal pump inside the scrotum. When the pump is compressed, it transfers fluid from the back part of the cylinders and pumps into the middle portion, creating rigidity and an erection. To end the erection, the penis is gently bent down at the mid-shaft for 5-10 seconds, allowing the fluid to return to the fluid-filled pump.


  • Easier to deflate
  • May be better suited for older men or those with poor manual dexterity


  • In the flaccid state, it always contains some fluid, causing the penis to appear “full,” similar to the effect after a hot shower.

3-Piece Inflatable Implants

The most commonly used inflatable device is the 3-piece inflatable implant, accounting for approximately 75% of penile implants. This device consists of paired cylinders, a small scrotal pump, and a fluid reservoir placed behind the abdominal wall muscles, all filled with saline solution. Thus, all components of the device are internal.

To create an erection, you squeeze the concealed pump in the scrotum several times to move fluid from the reservoir into the cylinders in the penis. As the cylinders fill, the penis becomes erect and firm. To return to a flaccid state, press a release valve on the pump, transferring the fluid back into the reservoir.

There are five different 3-piece devices available to address various implant situations.


  • Completely flaccid when deflated
  • Provides a natural feel, allowing control over rigidity and size


  • Requires training to learn how to deflate the device properly

To Inflate or Not Inflate

If you’re considering a penile implant, you may find yourself anxious about trying to select the correct one since there are more available options now.

The Inflatable penile implants are available in two-piece or three-piece models. They function by pressing a small pump located near the scrotum, which sends fluid into the penile tissue to create an erection.

On the other hand, non-inflatable penile implants are straightforward and consist of a single piece. An erection is achieved by pressing up on the penis to lengthen the rod inserted during a minor surgical procedure. To end the erection, you simply tilt the penis downward.

One major difference between hydraulic, inflatable prostheses and semi-rigid malleable implants is that inflatable prostheses offer a more natural feel and allow control over rigidity and size. Semi-rigid devices, while simpler and cheaper, result in a constantly rigid penis, making it difficult to conceal under tight clothing and increasing the risk of device erosion.

The pros and cons of each treatment option should be carefully discussed with your physician to ensure you make an informed choice and have realistic expectations about the treatment results.

Am I a Good Candidate for a Penile Implant?

To determine if you are the best penile implant candidate, Dr. Tajkarimi of Better Body MD conducts a thorough examination. This includes diagnostic testing and a detailed review of your symptoms to determine if a penile implant suits you.

If you are unable to achieve an erection naturally, a penile implant might be a viable solution.

As a board-certified surgeon and one of the top penile implant providers in the nation, Dr. Tajkarimi can assist a variety of patients, including:

  • First-time surgery patients
  • Patients needing revision surgery for an existing penile implant
  • Patients requiring replacement surgery after removal of a previous penile implant
  • Patients with Peyronie’s disease, which causes curvature of the penis

Are Penile Implants Covered by Insurance?

In some cases, penile implants can be covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans. Dr. Taj’s office will conduct a comprehensive evaluation with your insurance provider. For patients without insurance coverage, alternative payment options can be discussed.

I Am Considering a Penile Prosthesis. What Should I Do Next?

A man consulting a doctor for a Penile Prosthesis.

If you are considering a penile prosthesis operation, we recommend scheduling a consultation with one of our highly experienced doctors. Our clinic is one of the few high-volume penile prosthesis centers in the country, and we are confident in our ability to help you choose the best treatment option.

  • During your consultation, the doctor will:
  • Conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your erectile dysfunction issues
  • Assess your candidacy for penile implant surgery
  • Discuss the different options for penile implant procedures
  • Answer any questions you may have

If you’re still going through the process of trying to determine the better option between a noninflatable penile implant vs inflatable penile implant, contact the experts. Dr. Tajkarimi of Better Body MD is proud to be one of the leading providers of penile implants in Northern VA and Greater Washington DC. Conveniently located in Leesburg, VA, Dr. Taj and his team service a wide variety of clients from the area, including patients from all corners of the nation, to enjoy Dr. Tajkarimi’s knowledge and expertise in penile implants.

Call (703) 337-3353 today to schedule your consultation and learn more about the best penile implant option for you.

Regain your confidence and sexual satisfaction with Titan Penile Implant Surgery.


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