[image width=”349″ height=”184″ align=”left” title=”penile implant” alt=”penile-implant and pump” border=”” caption=”” zoom=”0″]/images/penile-implant2.jpg[/image]Penile implants are losing their popularity as a treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED) according to a new study. In a 10 year span from 2001 – 2010, the number of penile implant procedures among Medicare recipients decreased by 50% according to the study recently released in the Journal of Sexual Medicine report, led by a team of American researchers.

First developed in the 1960s, penile implants, or prostheses, are artificial cylinders that can help men achieve an erection firm enough for intercourse. At that time, penile implants were one of the few options available for men suffering from erectile dysfunction.

Nowadays, over 90% of implants are “inflatable.” To get an erection, a man activates a pump, which is usually placed in his scrotum. The pump releases fluid from a reservoir to cylinders in the penis, creating the erection. After sexual activity, the man deactivates the pump and the penis returns to its flaccid state.

To learn more about penile implant trends, the researchers looked at Medicare records in the United States. Medicare is the main form of health insurance for Americans age 65 and older. The team identified 1,763,260 men who were diagnosed with ED. Of those, 3% received penile implants during that time period. But the numbers dropped as well. In 2002, 4.6% of the men got implants. By 2010, this percentage decreased to 2.3%.

Implants are usually considered a last resort for men who do not respond to other treatments like medication or vacuum devices. It’s also an option for men who are unable to take medication because of drug interactions. However, many men with drug interactions are turning to herbal male enhancement supplements which have become very popular and today are more commonly used compared to penile implants.

Erectile dysfunction is on the rise. (no pun intended)

More men are being diagnosed with ED, the study authors explained. In fact, rates of ED diagnosis increased 165% between 2001 and 2010. ED awareness has grown over time. Rising rates of comorbidities like diabetes and obesity could also be involved.

So why are penile implant rates dropping? The answer might lie with drugs developed for ED, such as Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis, which have become a popular first line of treatment. Natural male enhancement supplements are also becoming much more popular and are in fact used by more men worldwide than the prescription drugs like Viagra. Because of the success of these ED supplements, and as men learn more about ED, those with milder cases may be more likely to seek treatment. If these men respond to the drugs, there is little need for them to have implants.

The authors acknowledged some limitations in their study. Medicare recipients are age 65 or older, they noted. So the results may not apply to younger men or those who have private insurance. It was also unclear what the patients’ choices were in regard to implants.

Fewer men will choose penile implants in the future.

[image width=”307″ height=”173″ align=”right” title=”penile implant surgery” alt=”penile-implant surgery” border=”” caption=”” zoom=”0″]/images/penis-implant-surgery.jpg[/image]According to the study, it’s increasingly likely that penile implants will become a rare choice for men who are newly diagnosed with ED. With a vast array of drugs and pills that are proven effective in restoring erectile function – less and less men will choose this surgical option as it is invasive and expensive.

Dr. Tom Lue, professor and vice chair of Urology at UC San Francisco, emphasized the patient’s lifestyle when treating ED.

“Number one is education,” said Lue. “That’s better than any surgery.”

He said he focuses holistic or natural treatments, then prescribes medication if the problem isn’t solved. For instance, Lue said men experiencing daily, chronic stress can experience erectile dysfunction as a result. “Surgery is a last resort,” said Lue. “Penile implants are much more invasive and have a higher rate of complication, especially for patients with underlying conditions like obesity and high blood pressure.”

If you suffer from erectile problems you should consult your doctor and consider a natural male enhancement pill, as these products are very successful and don’t have the side effects that prescription medications have. Several excellent products are available which can restore your erectile function and provide harder erections and several other sexual performance benefits.

Men shouldn’t be afraid to discuss any sexual problems with their physician. One study estimates that nearly 20% of all men over the age of 20 in the United States live with erectile dysfunction. This means you are certainly not alone if you’re living with ED.

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