A young Kolkatan has got a new lease of life after battling erectile dysfunction for years. A rare surgery gave him the chance to finally consummate his marriage after three years of struggle, and prevent a divorce. What’s even better, he will be a proud father very soon
For 28 year-old Rajesh Sharma (name changed on request), the years following his marriage in 2003 have been like a nightmare. Unable to consummate his marriage because of his impotence, Sharma was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and perilously close to divorce when a rare and complicated surgery brought him back from the brink.
The icing on the cake: he is about to become a father.
Sharma, a resident of Southern Avenue, had been running from pillar to post seeking treatment for sexual dysfunction without any result. After spending lakhs in vain, he was left morbidly depressed and struggling to save his marriage. Just as he was about to give up hope, help came in the form of renowned andrologist Rupin Shah.
The Mumbai-based surgeon performed a penile prosthesis on Sharma in Kolkata last August. The result, in the doctor’s words, is “most astonishing”.
“Due to an obstruction in the blood vessels leading to his reproductive organs, Sharma never got an erection. He had tried everything from Viagra to intra-penile injections but nothing worked. Even I was not sure if penile prosthesis would work in his case but it has been a resounding success. This provides hope to other such patients,” said Shah, who recently took charge of a male fertility clinic in Kolkata.
Post-surgery, Sharma is a changed man. He has shaken off his depression, and is leading a normal social and conjugal life. “I have no problems any more. The sexual dysfunction had seriously affected my married life and left me devastated. I felt inadequate. But now all that is in the past,” said a rejuvenated Sharma.
The surgery was performed free of cost for Sharma in Kolkata where Shah demonstrated the technique for local surgeons.
The doctor explained that penile prosthesis involves inserting a silicon implant into the penis that provides artificial stiffness from within. It is usually done as a last resort for patients for whom everything else has failed.
While an imported implant costs Rs 45,000, the total expense for the surgery could be Rs 1 lakh. But Shah uses his own implant, developed entirely by him, that costs just Rs 10,000 so the surgery can be done for Rs 50,000-60,000. “My device, the Shah Implant, has been proved effective. At least, that is what Sharma’s case shows for I have used it for the surgery,” added Shah.
Inspired by Sharma’s case, another patient with a similar problem has approached Shah. “This person has a congenital defect, which can be corrected through penile prosthesis. If all goes well, he could also recover completely,” said Rohit Gutgutia, IVF consultant at the Bhagirathi Neotia Woman and Child Care Centre.
WHAT IS PENILE PROSTHESIS?
- It is an artificial support for the penis, a last resort for impotent men, who have failed to benefit from conventional treatment — Viagra, Cialis and Levitra
- Penile prosthesis has been in use for over 25 years and the technology now is safe and quite effective
- The partner’s satisfaction is said to be 70 per cent
HOW DO PENILE PROSTHESES WORK?
There are two main types of penile prosthesis: semi-rigid and inflatable
SEMI-RIGID: This method consists of two rods of silicon rubber fitted into the interior of the penis through a surgery. They provide some rigidity as well as a certain amount of flexibility. The penis can either be curved downwards in the normal position or put into an erect position for intercourse
INFLATABLE: Two cylinders are placed inside the penis and a little pump in the scrotum. The cylinders can be inflated with fluid for intercourse and deflated
The main advantage of this method is that it looks more natural, despite the fact that there will be one or two scars
- The glans does not enlarge and penetration is awkward. Penis is not as firm as a normal erection
- Some models do not deflate easily
- The penis is never completely flaccid, and that hurts
- There is no increase in length or girth. In fact, many men lose between 1-1.5 cm of length
- The inflation of the device is not instantaneous and requires at least 30-45 seconds. It can also be painful sometimes
- Expect 6-10 weeks of quite severe pain after surgery
- 2-10% complication rate, mostly due to infection and device migration. This requires a second surgery
- The fluid reservoir can move up into the abdomen and be very noticeable
HISTORY OF THE PROCEDURE
- The inflatable penile prosthesis was devised by Scott and Bradley in the early 1970s and quickly became the treatment of choice for men with significant erectile dysfunction
- The first penile prosthesis surgery was done by Dr. Small Carrion of USA
The first Penile Implant surgery in India was conducted by Dr. DD Gaur in Mumbai
- Today, penile prostheses prove to be both reliable and durable, with approximately 20-30,000 devices implanted annually worldwide. It has a success rate of around 98% around the world
- In India, the surgery remains rare even though a few have been performed in Mumbai and Bangalore. The reason being a lack of trained surgeons, including in Kolkata