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World J Urol. 2004 Nov;22(5):371-7. Epub 2004 Oct 30.

Radiological assessment of penile prosthesis: the role of magnetic resonance imaging.

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Urology Department, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, c/ Dr. Esquerdo, 46, Madrid 28007 Spain.


Penile implants offer a dependable way of restoring erections in virtually all motivated patients. The satisfaction rate among both patients and partners using these devices is high. Advances in technology have reduced the infection rate and increased the mechanical reliability of these products. However, too often, urologists do not present this option with the same authority as other treatments. The reason is fear of complications and lack of expertise in managing them. Although they are not very frequent, complications may be catastrophic. The most significant postoperative complication associated with the implant surgery is infection of the device, which is quite frequent, but some other important complications are distal and proximal perforation of the albuginea, SST deformity, "S-shaped" deformity of the penis, erosion of a component, and mechanical malfunction of the device. The best way to manage complications is to prevent them, but we do not have many diagnostic tools available. Diagnosis is based on clinical history and physical examination, but imaging techniques are also needed to explore the prosthesis "in situ" to plan the surgical approach if it is needed. In this article we review the different imaging techniques used for the diagnosis of complications of prosthetic surgery of the penis, including conventional radiology, use of sonography, the role of CT scan and the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the penile prosthesis. We conclude that MRI is the most valuable method for the diagnosis of penile prosthesis complications. It is not an ionizing radiation imaging method and has the unique feature among imaging techniques of demonstrating penile anatomy in three orthogonal planes. It is superior to any other imaging method in the definition of soft tissue contrast.

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