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‘It is more than just a cosmetic procedure’

In a groundbreaking development in the field of urological healthcare, Namibia has introduced an advanced Inflatable Penile Prosthesis (IPP) device, providing a life-changing solution for men battling erectile dysfunction.

This cutting-edge medical innovation promises to restore not only physical intimacy, but also confidence and quality of life for those affected by the condition.

In an interview with The Namibian, urological surgeon at Lady Pohamba Private Hospital Dr Emmanuel Johnson said this procedure has been around for about 50 years in the West and even South Africa, but is very new to Namibia.

“No one has been doing it here, the procedure is done to men who are unable, for one reason or the other, to have an erection or to sustain an erection,” Johnson said.

The first ever implantation of a penile prosthesis was done at Lady Pohamba Private Hospital on Friday, 23 June.

“The prosthesis costs about N$80 000, but the medical aid covered the cost,” said Johnson.

“Erectile dysfunction is very common. Worldwide, about 52% of men will have some form of erectile dysfunction during their lifetime, but up to 15% of men between the ages of 40 and 80 years will have total erectile dysfunction at some point,” he said.

Johnson said in Namibia, erectile dysfunction is common for a number of reasons, like prevalence of undiagnosed or poorly controlled diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), or excessive use of alcohol and smoking.

“Another common group is patients from motor vehicle accidents who have spinal cord injuries. These are often young men and they are often in long-term relationships. Some of them are married and now for the rest of their life that intimacy is gone forever,” he said.

Johnson said the device offers them hope, as erection enhancing medication like Viagra does not work for some of them.

He said where that fails, they step up by using injectable cells with something called prostaglandins, but that doesn’t work for everyone.

“So, you have this group of people [for whom] nothing else works and you know that’s the end of their relationship psychologically.

“It’s impactful and depressing, so this offers them hope. We insert a prosthesis and there are two types.”


According to Johnson, the device works with a pump which the patient squeezes when he wants an erection. Water moves from the reservoir into the cylinder and if the cylinder fills up, they get an erection.

“They can have intimacy with their partners, then when they are done, they then simply press a button and then the cylinder deflates and the water goes back into the reservoir,” he said.

He said none of this is external.

“What we do is we make just one cut in the penis. All of this is done through one cut, so we make this cut clear and then we create space in this spongy tissue and then we implant these cylinders, Johnson said.

“There are two in the middle, the tunnel where the urine flows through, so we put one through there and another trip there, and then through the same opening we put the reservoir there just behind his bowel. Down there we create a small tunnel and we place it there and then the pump is in the scooter out of sight, but he can feel it,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the pump is activated with just one squeeze.

Johnson said the operation takes about an hour and the recovery time is about four weeks.

According to the Mayo Clinic, erectile dysfunction can be successfully treated with medications or the use of a penis pump (vacuum constriction device).

You might consider penile implants if you aren’t a candidate for other treatments, or you can’t get an erection sufficient for sexual activity by using other methods.

According to the site, penile implants can also be used to treat severe cases of a condition that causes scarring inside the penis, leading to curved, painful erections (Peyronie’s disease).