THE SEX FILES: Interview with Dr. James J. Elist, inventor of the Penuma® implant

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Every so often, things do get pretty damn serious here at THE SEX FILES. In the interview that follows, I had the honor to talk to Dr. James J. Elist, inventor of the Penuma® implant, “the first FDA-cleared aesthetic penile implant for penis augmentation.” I think you’ll find what follows as rather damn informative about the doctor’s invention, what men should and should not be looking for to aid their sexual performance and well-being.

First and foremost, doctor, can you tell us what the Penuma implant is and how it works?

Penuma is the first FDA-cleared aesthetic penile implant for penis augmentation. It’s made of soft medical-grade silicone, and it’s surgically inserted under the penile girth to expand the size of the penis. The surgical procedure takes about 45-60 minutes, and the network of Penuma surgeons have performed thousands of procedures to date with high self-reported patient and partner satisfaction. 

How/why did you come to invent it?

After observing the various shortcomings of previous male enhancement methods, such as fat injection, dermal grafts, and fillers, I sought a different approach. Taking a cue from breast augmentation and drawing upon my experience treating erectile dysfunction (ED) with prosthetics, I thought of using soft silicone implants that wouldn’t suffer reabsorption.

Treating the unfavorable outcome of other surgeries will teach you a lot about what you should not do. I worked with engineers and scientists to ensure that Penuma is designed not to affect the natural look and function of the penis, and it can be removed safely if need be, unlike the previous methods. I successfully developed the Penuma implant and received multiple FDA clearances beginning in 2004. Ever since, the Penuma implant has transformed the lives of thousands of patients. We have made many improvements to surgical techniques and protocols pre and post-surgery since, and now I am proud to introduce a scientifically backed solution with a strong track record to all men who are seeking to boost their confidence and self-esteem.

I am fascinated by the nuts and bolts of managing scientific research to product development, to actually marketing the product. Can you take us through a few steps of this process?

The idea was born out of necessity. Many men have been in search of a solution to augment the size of their penis, and I personally witnessed the damage that can occur when doing penile fat injections, fillers, pumps, pills, etc. 

I worked with engineers and well-reputed university professors to develop the prototypes and to conduct cadaver studies. I relied heavily on my experience of using penile prostheses for decades for the treatment of ED. 

Over the years, we’ve continued to make enhancements to the design of the implant as well as the surgical method. We’re so proud to have helped so many men over the years from around the world. 

Do you think there has been a rise in ED in the modern age (surely in the last few decades), or did we just not hear about this problem years ago…certainly there weren’t drugs and implants to combat it, I know. And if there is a rise in ED, why do you think that is?

Yes. It’s estimated that the prevalence of erectile dysfunction has increased with the aging of the population and may also be increasing due to increasing rates of risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Additionally, increased awareness and reduced stigma surrounding the condition may also result in increased reporting and diagnosis. Preliminary studies also seem to indicate that rates of ED increased during COVID-19 by 20%. A few theories are that COVID can cause fatigue and mild depression (which contributes to ED) and that COVID might decrease levels of testosterone or affect small vessels, including in the penis.

Surely, your implant is not the only solution to ED; can you name a few others you recommend? With so much information coming at men these days, how do we know which is best for us to pursue?

Penuma isn’t intended for ED treatment – it’s an aesthetic penile implant that can help augment to the penis, correct mild to moderate curvature, penile retraction, and other penile soft tissue issues. 

It’s best for someone to consult directly with a healthcare professional that specializes in male sexual dysfunction. Treatments can range from the non-medical (e.g., changes in lifestyle such as quitting smoking and psychotherapy) to medical treatments such as prescription medications and penile implants for ED. 

As much as all the solutions that might work for the many men out there, what have you found doesn’t?

There are many products and treatments marketed as remedies for erectile dysfunction (ED) that have not been scientifically proven to be effective. Some examples include:

1. Herbal supplements and natural remedies: Many herbs and natural remedies are marketed as “natural” treatments for ED, but there is limited scientific evidence to support their effectiveness.

2. Vacuum pumps: While vacuum pumps can help produce an erection, they are not a cure for ED and can have potential side effects.

3. Topical creams and gels: There is limited evidence to support the effectiveness of topical creams and gels for the treatment of ED.

 4. Stem cell therapy: Stem cell therapy for ED is not yet an established or proven treatment and should be approached with caution.

It is important to consult a healthcare provider before trying any treatment for ED, especially if it is not scientifically proven to be effective.

If men are searching online for pills or other aids, is there a quick way they can tell if something is legitimate? Are there red flags we should immediately being looking out for in ED products?

If you are considering using an online product or supplement for erectile dysfunction (ED), it is important to be cautious and informed. Some of these products have proven to be not only ineffective but dangerous, even with trace amounts of prescription drugs. Here are some red flags to look out for when evaluating ED products online or in convenience stores, etc:

1. Claims of instant or guaranteed results: ED is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive evaluation and treatment approach, and there is no instant cure.

2. Use of vague or misleading language: If a product makes vague or misleading claims about its benefits or uses language that is difficult to understand, it is likely not a legitimate product.

3. Lack of scientific evidence: If a product does not have any scientific evidence to support its claims, or if the evidence is limited or inconclusive, it may not be a reliable or effective product.

4. Price that seems too good to be true: If a product is significantly cheaper than other similar products, it may be a sign that it is not a legitimate product.

5. Requirement to buy in bulk or pay upfront: If a company requires you to buy a large quantity of a product or pay upfront before you can try it, it may be a sign of a scam.

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any product for ED and to carefully evaluate any product or treatment before using it. If a product seems too good to be true, it is likely that it is not effective or safe.

You can find more information about Dr. Elist and his Penuma implant here: Dr. James Elist – Penuma® – Penile Implant For Men

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