Admit it, you’ve seen a few porn clips in your day. Not to worry, we all have. You’ll notice they usually have a few things in common. Beautiful women for one. And a male porn stud with a monster-sized erection.
The average North American penis is four to six inches long. That said, micropenis refers to a penis less than two inches when erect. Roughly 0.6% of men have micropenis. That’s about 90,000 danglers in the United States.
Phalloplasty, or penis surgery, is a cosmetic procedure to increase penis size, both for width and length. Estimates suggest that at least 10,000 men have undergone penis surgery, whether to treat micropenis or to make an average penis bigger. Further research suggests that 45% of men wish for a bigger penis, and it’s likely some of them will do it with a knife.
But should they?
The pitfalls of penis surgery are many. The technology is evolving and has improved in recent years. But the fact remains that the penis is a delicate series of tissues, ligaments and blood vessels that are easily strained and can suffer irreparable damage if strained inappropriately. Or if they’re cut.
According to surveys of post-operative patients, surgery to widen the penis tends to produce the best results. In this procedure, surgeons transplant tissue grafts from various body parts, including the arm, chest, leg or pubic area, and inject this tissue into the shaft, for a wider appearance.
Some surgeons use allograft, or treated cadaver tissue, instead of living tissue, for this form of phalloplasty.
In penis lengthening surgery, the surgeon cuts the ligament connecting the penile tissue to inside the pelvis which, in theory, extends the shaft outside the body, where it’s visible, thus making it longer. Patients usually wear weights or a penis extender after this surgery for up to six months to prevent the ligament from re-attaching.
While some surgeons will perform both surgeries at the same time, others prefer to do them in stages. Lengthening surgery costs between $5,000 and $10,000. Surgery to widen the penis usually costs more. The treated cadaver tissue can easily run $5,000 to $7,000, and that’s without the surgery. Combined, both procedures can top $20,000.
Satisfactory rates with phalloplasty vary, but a 2006 study published in European Urology of 42 post-operative men found that only 35% of the patients were happy with the results (often less than an inch for lengthening, although better for width). Fifty per cent of the men went on to further surgery.
The surgery comes with risks, including scarring, infection, misshapen erection, loss of sensation, impotence and, in some cases, a permanent inability to produce an erection. In another study of men who underwent the procedure, 25% had complications.
While improvements in existing phalloplasty techniques might make penis surgery a safer and more effective option for future patients, and bioengineering may improve results further, phalloplasty is, at this time, a controversial, and relatively underwhelming option for men looking to increase penis size, given the risks and costs.
That’s not to say that penis enlargement doesn’t work. Recent studies also suggest that penis extenders – which fit on the penis and employ light traction for roughly eight hours a day for six months – might increase penis size, with less risk than surgery.
But it does suggest that penis surgery, though gaining momentum, is best avoided.