Penis Enlargement (Phalloplasty)
A penis can be enlarged in two ways: by increasing the length, and increasing the girth (circumference). Increasing the girth of the penis is a more complex procedure. Both procedures can be performed together or in isolation.
This article discusses both procedures but does not discuss phalloplasty for penis construction, as is needed in sexual reassignment surgery.
Penile lengthening surgery will increase only the length of a flaccid penis, not an erect one.
Average penis length is something that is increasingly discussed, often inaccurately. Various scientific studies have shown that the average erect penis length is around 13cm (5 inches). A study done by LifeStyles condoms found that almost all men fall somewhere between an erect length of 10cm (4in) and 18cm (7in), with around 80% of penises shorter than 15.9cm (6.25in).
Flaccid length varies even more and bears almost no correlation to erect length. An apparently small flaccid penis may grow considerably in length and girth when erect, whereas a large flaccid penis, when erect, may not change much in size at all. Various studies have found the average flaccid length to be around 9cm (3.5in).
Between one-third and one-half of the penis is housed inside the body. It is relatively easy to increase the flaccid penis length by cutting the suspensory ligament, which holds the penis close to the pubic bone and supports it during an erection. Through the use of penile weights, this ligament eventually heals in an extended state, with more of the penis hanging outside the body than before. Another method to increase penis length is through liposuction (fat removal) to the pubic area, which simply exposes more of the penis. Unlike the cutting of the suspensory ligament, liposuction to the pubic area can give the impression of a longer erect penis without increasing the structure of the penis through surgery.
Increasing the girth or circumference of the penis is slightly trickier. There are two main techniques: injecting fat into the penis and inserting grafts of tissue and fat, usually taken from the groin or buttock area. This second procedure is called a dermal fat-graft augmentation.
Fat injections were the first technique developed by surgeons and can increase girth up to 50%. The results of this procedure are unpredictable, however, because fat is often reabsorbed into the body. The amount of reabsorbed fat ranges from 25% to 90%. To allow for this reabsorption, surgeons typically inject more fat than is required.
Dermal fat-graft augmentation was developed as a solution to the problems associated with the fat transfer technique. In dermal fat-graft augmentation two strips of tissue are removed, typically from the buttocks, in a place where a scar will not be obvious, e.g. the crease where the leg joins the buttock. These strips are usually about 5cm wide and 12cm long. The tissue is then inserted under the skin of the penis. Fat reabsorption, which is common with fat injections, is mostly avoided using this technique because the tissue has a layer of skin on one side.
Reasons for choosing to have aClick to collapse
At one time or another, most men have wished their penises were larger. This is not a good reason to have penis enlargement surgery. For some, however, the size of the penis is worrying and leads to poor self-esteem, anxiety or depression. For these men, increasing the girth or the flaccid length of the penis may be worth the risks.
Penises come in various sizes and shapes. Rarely is one so small that it poses an insurmountable problem either urinating or during sexual intercourse.
If you suffer considerably due to the size or shape of your penis, it is worth talking about it with your doctor. This does not necessarily mean you need to have surgery. Learning to accept your penis and not attach your sense of self worth to it may be the most appropriate course of action.
If, however, you have done your research about the risks and have realistic expectations about the outcomes of your surgery, then you may be a good candidate for this procedure.
What to expectClick to expand
Penis enlargement surgery is performed on an outpatient basis. You can go home within a few hours of surgery, after recovering from the effects of anaesthesia. Penis lengthening and penis widening can be performed under local or general anaesthesia. You should discuss these options with your surgeon. The two procedures can be performed together or separately.
Pain after surgery is to be expected, but varies from person to person. Your surgeon will prescribe medication to help with the pain.
Before and after surgeryClick to expand
There are a number of things you can do leading up to any kind of surgery.
You should also be prepared to avoid sex or masturbation for at least six weeks after the procedure.
There are a number of things you can do following any surgery.
Specific things to do after penis enlargement surgery:
- When you wake up in the recovery room, your pubic area will be bandaged. Resist the urge to look under your bandages. Keep them on until you next see your surgeon. You don’t want to get an infection by exposing the wound area.
- Keep the dressing dry by washing in the basin, not the shower. It is important to clean the area as directed by your surgeon.
- If you’ve had a penile lengthening procedure, make sure you wear the penile weights as directed by your surgeon. This ensures the suspensory ligament heals in a position where more of your penis is exposed outside your body.
- Itching is common after surgery. It will resolve as you heal. Your scars may take a full year to fully diminish or disappear. Follow your surgeon’s instructions on scar-healing treatments.
- You should expect to be back to most normal activities (excluding sex) about a week after a penis enlargement procedure.
Risks and complicationsClick to expand
As with any surgical procedure there are risks involved in penis enlargement surgery. You should be fully aware of these before you consider surgery.
The best way to reduce risk is to find a fully qualified surgeon with formal training in penis enlargement who has a lot of experience with the procedure.
Make sure you familiarise yourself with the list of complications that could arise as a result of any surgery
Specific complications that may occur after penis enlargement surgery:
- The penis is sensitive, and the risk of a permanent reduction or loss of sensitivity should be taken seriously and discussed with your surgeon.
- As was explained at the beginning of this article, fat transfers are often reabsorbed into the body, causing patients to be unhappy with the results. Fat can also be reabsorbed at different rates in different places, resulting in a lumpy or irregularly shaped penis.
- Dermal grafts require a donor site. Thin men may not have any potential sites at all. The scar may become almost invisible, but scarring is unpredictable and may be obvious.
- An uneven appearance to the penis as a result of fat necrosis (fat cell death) is possible and may need to be corrected with further surgery.
Rough costs involvedClick to expand
The total costs for this surgery range from between $5,000 and $15,000 AUD, depending on the procedure chosen (lengthening, widening, liposuction or any combination of these), the techniques used and the surgeon. These amounts include the surgeon’s fee, assistant’s fee, theatre fee, hospital fee and anaesthetist’s fee, as well as follow up visits with your doctor.
You may be entitled to rebates from both Medicare and your private health fund if the treatment is not deemed to be purely cosmetic. The full cost including possible rebates should be discussed with your doctor.
You should expect the costs to be higher if you are having combined procedures at the same time.
This information is correct as of 2017.