Why the Man With a Bionic Penis Has to Endure a Two-Week Erection, for Science

He had to go through over 100 surgeries for this.

This Morning

A bionic penis may sound like a dream, but Andrew Wardle plans on hiding in his apartment for the next two weeks to avoid embarrassing situations with his medically necessary two-week erection.

“I have one more operation, and they’re just going to basically turn it on,” Wardle said Wednesday in an interview on the talk show This Morning on British TV network ITV. “I’ve got to take the train home from London, and have an erection for two weeks.”

Stay with us here: Penile implants are becoming relatively common, but Wardle’s case is unusual because doctors constructed his penis over the course of more than 100 surgeries from muscle, nerves, and skin from his arm. At the end of the process, they built his new penis around a series of cylinders that Wardle will be able to fill with fluid to get an erection. Because of the healing process, the doctors have to inflate it in a surgical procedure, and then leave it erect to heal.

What an inflatable penis implant looks like.

Flickr / Dr. Eduardo García Cruz

Wardle was born with an unusual condition where his bladder formed outside his body, and so he never developed a penis. Using muscles in the arm to create a penis is a surgery commonly used in gender reassignment, and skin from the chest can also be used. The inflatable cylinders are part of a penile implant that is also used in cases of severe erectile dysfunction and paralysis. The multi-component prosthesis allows the user to inflate and deflate it at will, and says it has the most complicated surgery, but also causes the least wear on the penile tissue around it over time. It’s also pretty natural feeling, according to the

The only prosthesis that gives the penis a normal look and feel when erect and when flaccid. Many single patients report that the partner does not realize that the penis has an implant in it.

The erection happens when the cylinders are filled with fluid, which Wardle will be able to do by pushing a button in his scrotum that pumps fluid out of an implanted reservoir into the chambers in his penis. A second button in his scrotum pumps the fluid out so his penis can be flaccid again.

Once the implant is inflated, his penis has to heal around the new hardware. The inflation process starts with a three-day hospital visit and ends with an erection that lasts for two weeks. After all that, he should be feeling pretty good.

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