Mechanical Aids for Erectile Dysfunction

Being able to get and sustain an erection can be an issue for men with spinal cord injuries. The good news is that there are several options that can help, including mechanical aids.

Mechanical Aids for Erectile Dysfunction

Get helpful information on erectile dysfunction aids.

The most frequent sexual disorder for men with a spinal cord injury is erectile dysfunction (ED). This means that a man is not capable of achieving an erection or is not able to hold it long enough to complete intercourse. If you have ED, oral or injectable medications aren’t your only options. You may be able to use mechanical aids to treat your ED successfully, and get and sustain healthy erections. Let’s explore what’s out there.

Your mechanical options

Vacuum pump and penis ring:

  • This method involves putting a plastic cylinder over your penis. A battery- or manually-operated pump connected to the cylinder produces a vacuum that causes blood to flow into your penis. It will swell up and after some minutes you will get an erection.
  • When you are erect, you slide an elastic band (sometimes called a penis ring) over your penis up to the base. Then, you remove the cylinder.
  • To prevent damage to your blood vessels, don’t keep the band in place for more than 30 minutes
  • It is important to learn how to use this aid safely and properly, so make sure you consult with your healthcare team


Penile implants:

  • If non-surgical treatments are ineffective, a prosthesis can be surgically implanted inside your penis
  • There are several types of prostheses. Two common options are an inflatable system, and a rod implant.
  • With an inflatable system, you simply squeeze a surgically-implanted pump device that inflates the prosthesis inside your penis. This allows for quick erections on command.
  • A rod implant prosthesis keeps your penis relatively firm all the time, but may be bendable or semi-rigid to allow you to adjust for comfort


What’s right for you?

These devices are alternatives to ED medication, and finding the best mechanical aid sometimes takes experimentation. You should always get approval and direction from your medical team before using any of them. And if you decide on a penile implant, be sure to discuss any risks – including the risk of infection – with your doctor.


The products mentioned in this article are not available through Hollister Incorporated. Please consult with your healthcare provider for more information.