Also known as phalloplasty or penile enhancement
Penis enlargement, or phalloplasty, is a surgical procedure that can permanently increase the length of the penis, usually by slightly more than an inch. Other penile procedures are available that can increase the circumference of the penis. These procedures may give you a renewed sense of well-being and improved self-assurance.
When to Consider Penis Enlargement
- If you feel that your penis is very small in proportion to your body size
- If you would gain confidence from such a procedure
- If you have been diagnosed as having micropenis (an erect penis of 3 inches or less) or Peyronie’s disease (a bent or painful erection)
Many men who consider a penis enlargement also consider liposuction, pectoral implants, or abdominal etching (“six-pack” procedure). Some patients consider glanular enhancement surgery, which enlarges the coronal ridge of the glans penis.
Approximately a third of the penis lies inside the body, beneath the pubic bone. In the lengthening surgery, called phalloplasty, the suspensory ligament above the penis is released, which causes the penis to extend further outside the body. This is done through a small incision in the pubic area and will be covered by pubic hair. Although this procedure will result in erections that point downward, this will not interfere with normal function.
In some individuals the scrotum is attached high up on the penile shaft. Partially disconnecting the scrotum can produce the appearance of a longer penis. This 20-minute procedure can be done on an outpatient basis.
Increasing penis circumference is most often performed by transferring fat from other areas of the body by liposuction, and placing it through a syringe into the penile shaft. A newer procedure that some surgeons are using is the transfer of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from your own blood supply. Both of these approaches involve no foreign bodies, and therefore there are no problems of tissue rejection. Another method is to increase the overall width of the penis with a dermal wrap of an allograft material placed under the skin.
Following the procedure, your penis may be covered with a dressing that needs to be changed at intervals. Your sexual performance will not be affected, nor will your ability to urinate.
Your surgeon will provide thorough preoperative instructions, answer any questions you may have, take a detailed medical history, and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
- Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing
- Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs, and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding
- Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
Phalloplasty is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night following surgery.
What can I expect on the day of penis enlargement surgery?
Your surgery may be performed in an accredited hospital, free-standing ambulatory facility, or office-based surgical suite. Most penis enlargement procedures take at least one to one and a half hours to complete but may take longer.
- Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure.
- General anesthesia is commonly during your procedure, although local anesthesia with or without intravenous sedation may be desirable in some instances.
- For your safety during the surgery, various monitors may be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse, and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery.
- After your procedure is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored.
You will probably be permitted to go home after a short observation period unless you and your plastic surgeon have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery.
Your doctor will discuss with you whether weight loss will improve the projection of your penis. For some men, significant weight loss, or liposuction of the fat pad around the penis, will produce the apparent increased length they desire, without the need for penis enlargement surgery.
Alternatively, your surgeon may recommend surgery. For the lengthening procedure, a small incision is made in the pubic area. To widen the penis, small amounts of processed fatty tissue from your body are injected through tiny incision sites around the circumference of the penis. If the allograft technique is selected, the AlloDerm sheets will be inserted through the same incision as for the lengthening procedure.
It's important to choose your surgeon based on:
- Education, training, and certification
- Experience with penis enlargement surgery
- Your comfort level with him or her
Members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are experienced and qualified to perform your aesthetic procedure. Learn how to select a surgeon.
After finding a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area who is experienced in performing penis enlargement surgery, you will need to make an office appointment to set up your consultation. Generally, because of the in-depth nature of the consultation, there is a cost associated with the initial visit.
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Your surgeon will evaluate you as a phalloplasty candidate and clarify what a penis enlargement procedure can do for you. Understanding your goals and medical condition, both alternative and additional treatments may be considered (See related procedures).
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your complete medical history. This will include information about:
- Previous surgeries
- Past and present medical conditions
- Allergies and current medications
Based on your goals, physical characteristics, and the surgeon’s training and experience, your surgeon will share recommendations and information with you, including:
- An approach to your surgery, including the type of procedure or combination of procedures
- The outcomes that you can anticipate
- Your financial investment for the procedure
- Associated risks and complications
- Options for anesthesia and surgery location
- What you need to prepare for your surgery
- What you can expect to experience after surgery
- Show before–and-after photos of cases similar to yours and answer any questions
For a general list of questions to ask your surgeon about his or her background, find out about plastic surgery safety and to plan your procedure visit the Planning Toolkit.
We developed these questions to help you:
- Make the most informed and intelligent decisions about your procedure
- Confirm that you have the right surgeon for your procedure
- Make your initial consultation as rewarding as possible
- Understand your options, potential outcomes, and risks
It is important for you to take an active role in your surgery, so please use this list of questions as a starting point for your initial consultation.
- Am I a good candidate for a penis enlargement?
- Are the results I am seeking reasonable and realistic?
- Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for the procedure I am undergoing?
- Will my scars be visible? Where will my scars be located?
- What kind of anesthesia do you recommend for me?
- What will be the total costs associated with my surgery?
- What will you expect of me to get the best results?
- What kind of recovery period can I expect, and when can I resume normal activities?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- How are complications handled?
- What are my options if the cosmetic outcome of my surgery does not meet the goals we agreed on?
Your surgeon will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions about your postsurgical care, including information about:
- Drains, if they have been placed
- Normal symptoms you will experience
- Potential signs of complications
See options for short-term recovery locations in Aftercare and Recovery (Planning Toolkit).
Immediately after penis enlargement
If you have had a general anesthetic, you will stay in the facility overnight. If a local anesthetic was used, the surgeon may discharge you on the same day. Your penis may be covered with a dressing that needs to be changed at intervals. Your surgeon may prescribe medication for pain. If an antibiotic is given, follow directions carefully and promptly report any signs of infection.
When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain. If the pain is extreme or long-lasting, contact your physician. You will also have some redness and swelling after the surgery. Contact your surgeon to find out if your pain, redness, and swelling is normal or a sign of a problem.
Recovery time frame after penis enlargement
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by your surgeon. This will include information about care of your drains if placed, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe. Your surgeon will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
You should wear loose-fitting garments and avoid overexerting yourself. Do no heavy lifting for approximately one month, and refrain from sexual relations for a month to six weeks. Your doctor may instruct you in a course of stretching exercises or a system of weights to ensure optimal results. It may take three to six months before you see the complete results of this surgery.
The results of phalloplasty are permanent. If liposuction has been performed around the pubis, subsequent weight gain can alter the results. If glandular enhancement has been performed, repeat treatments may be considered.
Maintain a relationship with your aesthetic plastic surgeon
For safety, as well as the most beautiful and healthy outcome, it’s important to return to your plastic surgeon's office for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times and whenever you notice any changes. Do not hesitate to contact your surgeon when you have any questions or concerns.
The cost of penile enlargement varies from doctor to doctor and from one geographic area to another.
See the national average for physician fees per procedure.
These numbers only reflect the physician/surgeon fees last year and do not include fees for the surgical facility, anesthesia, medical tests, prescriptions, surgical garments or other miscellaneous costs related to surgery.
Because penis enlargement is elective surgery, insurance does not cover these costs. Many surgeons offer patient financing plans to make the procedure more affordable.
Choose your surgeon based on quality, training, and experience—not cost.
See why ASAPS members are widely recognized for upholding the highest standards in the area of aesthetic plastic surgery by viewing their basic credentials, training, and certifications.
Fortunately, significant complications from penis enlargement are infrequent. Your specific risks will be discussed during your consultation.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal)
- Infection and bleeding
- Changes in sensation
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to underlying structures
- Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
Other risks specific to penis enlargement are outlined below:
- Reduced sensation
- Fewer rigid erections
- Problems with urination
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your penis enlargement surgery.This article was originally published for Smart Beauty Guide and was legally licensed