Everything You Might Want to Know About Penis Enhancement, But Are Afraid to Ask
Compared to other cosmetic procedures, breast augmentation, tummy tucks, mommy makeovers, facial fillers and the like, we hear far less about penis enhancement. Perhaps there is still significantly more stigma associated with this procedure, or perhaps it’s just not well-suited for television, but there’s simply not a lot of talk about it in almost any media, at least nothing I’m reading or on shows I’m watching, and as such, there are a lot of seemingly unanswered questions revolving around penis enhancement. For example - - How is it done? Why? What are the safety concerns, and how does it all work out in the end?
Well, to answer these questions and more, I reached out to one of the preeminent plastic surgeons performing this procedure in the United States, Dr. Mark Solomon.
I had so many questions, so I started with the basics:
Do people seek out penis enlargements purely for aesthetic purposes?
Yes. If they need help with the functional aspect like a penile prosthetic, a urologist is best suited to address that issue.
Does it always come down to desired length or girth?
Pretty much. Those are the two most common reasons patients come to see me.
What do those procedures entail?
To add length - we cut the ligaments that connect to the pubic bone and move the base of the penis out.
To increase the circumference, a layer of collagen is inserted under the skin, between the skin and the shaft. Bear in mind that not all doctors even know where to insert the collagen, so as with all procedures, it is imperative that you see a trained ABPS board-certified plastic surgeon who has a successful track record performing this procedure.
If someone is seeking to just widen the penis, strips of collagen are inserted on either side of the penis, rather than bring wrapped all the way around.
Are the men requesting this procedure smaller than average and want to be average in size, or do you see more average-sized men wanting to be bigger?
Most of my patients are normal to begin with and just want to be bigger. An average penis is 3.5 inches flaccid and 5.75 inches when erect. A procedure to lengthen the penis will add about an inch, though it varies with what they start with.
When increasing the circumference, men can increase their girth 30%-50%, depending on the thickness of the material used.
Will either of these procedures help men get and sustain erections?
I don’t treat men for whom erections are their concern. This is a urologist’s area of expertise and they should consult with a specialist in that field. These procedures are purely for aesthetic purposes.
Can a patient be conservative in their upgrade, for example only adding a centimeter to the length or millimeters in girth?
For length, no. Girth - yes, because the sheets of collagen added between the layers of skin can be chosen based on their thickness.
Though from my experience, nobody wants to be conservative.
When I consult with a patient, I take measurements of their existing length and girth and make a recommendation to create the enhancement in proportional way.
I consider the aesthetic. That's why I believe that plastic surgeons are best suited to do this work. We work with aesthetics and symmetry on a daily basis.
What is the average recovery time?
- In lengthening, it's an outpatient surgery. The patient will recuperate at home for a week and should wait 4 weeks before having sex.
- Widening takes about 6 weeks to recover.
- Thickening is about 3-5 weeks for recovery; however patients must refrain from sex for 6-12 weeks.
What are the most common complications?
Infection, scars and shortening.
There is a 10% risk of infection for grafts around the penis. We can treat these patients with antibiotics. Usually the infection can heal that way, but in more serious situations, the infected area needs to be washed out, which lengthens the healing process.
The shortening occurs after surgery when scarring pulls the penis back to the pubic bone. This is a risk of the ligament release procedure used to lengthen the penis. I have patients wear a weighted condom for 6 hours a day for six months to prevent this from occurring. Not all surgeons do this.
Scars are part of any surgical procedure. Some surgeons use skin flaps or make the scars in visible places. There are places to make incisions that are less obvious and those are my choices for these procedures.
Not all doctors performing this operation are proficiently experienced in it. Of the few people who offer it, even fewer do it well. I treat many patients who have had surgery by other surgeons that are not plastic surgeons, and I suspect they do not have the knowledge base in plastic surgery that allows them to use the tools that we have for reconstruction. Revision penis surgery is unbelievably challenging, so it is essential that patients seek board-certified plastic surgeons who have experience performing penis enhancement procedures.
In thinking about the experience of the patient himself, how long do they say they’ve been considering a penis enlargement before contacting you?
Oh, most have been thinking about a long time. Years.
How do they find you?
Searching on the internet- often in chat rooms or forums where people discuss a variety of procedures. The use of chat rooms is more for support, not because of the taboo nature of surgery. Penis enlargement is in a realm of all male chat, so it does not interact with other sites.
Overall, how pleased are the men with their results?
It varies. Some have unrealistic expectations, which I try my best to manage from the start. Those who have realistic expectations and understand that the physical appearance, (length, girth or both) will change to the extent mentioned above are quite pleased. Those who think that the aesthetic changes will impact their ability to perform are generally unhappy to discover that isn’t the case. As I mentioned, this is is not a functional operation, it does not change how their penis works. It’s purely cosmetic. Yet, some men still might expect a change in performance beyond the aesthetic changes.
Speaking of function, does a penis function the same as it did before, only bigger and better?
By and large, (no pun necessarily intended), yes.
What is your advice for men considering this procedure?
As with any surgery, there are risks. The best course of action is to be really thoughtful in your consideration of the risks before having the surgery. And research! Research is key to finding a surgeon you can trust. Research to find a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery to perform it.
Thank you Dr. Solomon for sharing your depth of knowledge with me. I can truly say that I know more than I ever thought I would about penis enhancements!
For more about this procedure check out the procedural page.