AARP Eye Center
Q: I am a 65-year-old man who had a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) done to reduce an enlarged prostate 10 years ago. Ever since then, even though I achieve an erection, it is not as strong, nor can I maintain it for long. I have been using Viagra, which was covered to a degree under my company insurance, but now that I am on Medicare it will no longer be covered. I have heard a lot about various pumps and the fact that they are sometimes covered by Medicare. Worth it, or will I be wasting my time?
Dr. Pepper Schwartz: A lot of men love the pumps - but make no mistake, it involves an operation and once done, it will be your only answer, because you can't reconstruct the way the penis was configured before the operation.
Still, it is worth consideration, and you should do a lot of reading up on it to see if it's for you and your partner. The pump will be hard enough to use for penetration (but probably not "rock hard") and it will definitely last longer. You will have to pump it up and pump it down, but this can be done discreetly. There is no pain in it, or so I am told, and the research seems to bear this out. Most candidates for this operation should be able to have orgasms, - sometimes multiple orgasms if they are no longer ejaculating.
I would do a lot of research on Medicare, however, to make sure you know what is covered and what is not, both now and in the future when the new federal health care policies are put in place. You should also find out if there is any appeal process if something is not automatically covered. You only want to move forward on this if you have researched both reimbursement and the viability of the pump for you, extremely well.
That said, I think the pump is worth considering. Just remember, if you do decide to do it, find a specialist who can discuss this procedure fully and clearly and who has done a lot of pump placements. You certainly want to make sure you will have a safe and successful experience.
Photo by Michael Caven.
Dr. Schwartz answers questions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Submit your question here. Read more of Pepper's columns here . And be sure to follow Pepper on Twitter @pepperschwartz.
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