Penis Enlargement Surgery

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Tony Clemente, Senior Staff Writer

Tony Clemente has been writing for newspapers, magazines, websites, and other publications for over 20 years, covering subjects as diverse as lifestyle trends in the Southwest, health and wellness tips for Medicare recipients, and world-class quality improvement processes for major corporations. In addition to spending time under the knife during two major and five minor surgeries, Mr. Clemente has written extensively about cosmetic surgery procedures, including cosmetic dentistry, hair restoration, and bariatric weight-loss surgery. He has a BA in history from Williams College.


December 31 2007

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Penis enlargement surgery is a sensitive topic for a variety of reasons. The first one, obviously, is that discussions about genitalia tend to be taboo, at least in most public places. Second, the subject of penis enlargement surgery strikes directly at the heart of many men's insecurities: a sense of inadequacy and a fear that their natural equipment falls short of the average penis size. Third, the anatomical region under discussion is itself a very sensitive area, and the idea that someone might be poking around down there with very sharp instruments tends to send an uncomfortable shiver down most men's spines.

All the same, the idea of penile enlargement has taken root, and there are plenty of surgeons and others out there who claim that they — or the products or techniques they pitch — can increase the size of the equipment provided by the parental gene pool. Unfortunately, these claims are about as reliable as an e-mail from a wealthy foreigner who claims to need assistance getting his money out of Nigeria.

What Male Enhancement Surgery Options Are on the Market
These Days?

Currently, male enhancement surgery typically involves one of three techniques:

  • Detaching the ligament that connects the penis to the pubic bone, and thickening the penile shaft with skin from the abdomen
  • Taking skin flaps from the pubic region and adding it to the penis
  • Taking fat from other body areas (or from cadavers) and injecting it into the penis

It should be noted upfront that the American Urological Association, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) universally disapprove of these types of male plastic surgery. None of these penis enlargement techniques have been proven to be safe or effective, and the "cure," in these cases, can be worse than the malady.

The side effects of penis enlargement surgery can include infection in the treated area, the loss of feeling in the area, excessive bleeding, and an inability to perform penile functions. Even the relatively simple procedure of injecting fat into the penile shaft can have unwanted consequences. The body tends to reabsorb fat over time, which can leave a fat-injected penis looking lumpy and misshapen. In one study, fully two-thirds of the injected fat was reabsorbed into the body a year after the male plastic surgery was performed.

On top of that, some men who've undergone penile enlargement procedures have required additional cosmetic surgeries to fix problems caused by the initial surgery. These problems have included scarring, lumping, a drooping penis and a loss of sensation, not to mention pain, incontinence and — worst of all, perhaps — impotence.

And we haven't yet touched on the real pain: Paying for the cosmetic surgery. The cost of penile enlargement surgery can be up to $10,000 for the original procedure; the cost of any corrective surgery would be in addition to that figure. And because most, if not all, insurance companies view penis enlargement as elective surgery rather than a medically necessary procedure, any and all surgical costs will be borne by the patient alone.

Are Other Male Enhancement Options Available?

As noted above, there are also products and techniques on the market today that their promoters claim will enlarge the penis. Among these are manual squeezing exercises, attaching weights to penises, vacuum pumps, and a variety of pills and lotions. However, no product or technique has ever been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in penile enhancement. In fact, rather than helping patients, some of the techniques, particularly attaching weights to the penis to elongate it, can cause permanent damage to the penis.

Quite frankly, undergoing a surgical procedure on the male genitals in the hope of achieving a "normal" size is usually unnecessary to begin with. The average penis size in a flaccid state is 3 to 4 inches long; in an aroused state, the average penis size measures between 5 and 7 inches long. Recent studies have shown that, among men who contact doctors about penis enlargement surgery, the majority discover that they already have normal-sized penises.

And there's more good news for men who feel slighted by the size of their penises: Studies and anecdotal evidence strongly suggest that it is males rather than females who tend to obsess over penis size. Indeed, most women would prefer a skilled lover over a super-sized one, in no small part because gargantuan penises can be painful for many women.

All the same, there are a few things men can do to achieve their full, natural potential. The goal is to get the maximum amount of blood to the penis, since blood is the major ingredient in an erection. Proper exercise and nutrition will keep the blood flowing strongly throughout the body, including in the pubic region. Similarly, giving up tobacco can help reverse the effects of arterial narrowing brought on by smoking, further enhancing blood flow to the penis. Making love in a warm, relaxing environment can also ease anatomical restrictions to blood flow, and, quite frankly, familiarity and comfort with a partner can reduce nervousness and keep the blood pumping into the pubic region.