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Sex Health Blog

Considerations Before Penis Surgery

Sep 08, 2011

Should you have surgery on your penis?

It’s a question that makes a lot of men squirm. After all, the penis is a complicated organ. It’s not just for urination and intercourse. It’s a symbol of masculinity.

Of course, sometimes there’s no choice but to have surgery, as in the case of penile cancer. But in other cases, alternative therapies may have success and surgery can be avoided.

Men have penis surgery for a variety of reasons. Here are some:

·         Penile cancer. In early stages, surgery may involve removing a tumor. In later stages, part or all of the penis may be removed in a procedure called a penectomy. Surgery is a common treatment for this type of cancer.

·         Erectile dysfunction. Men with erectile dysfunction may choose to have vascular surgery, which repairs blood vessels in the penis. Penile implants, using malleable rods or a special pump, are another surgical option.

·         Peyronie’s disease. This penile curvature condition is caused by plaques, or hardened tissue. Surgery aims to straighten the penis by stitching the opposite side of the plaque or by cutting into the incision and using a graft.

·         Penis enlargement. Some men are not satisfied with the size of their penis. Surgeons specializing in phalloplastic surgery – cosmetic surgery on the penis – can lengthen or widen it.

As you can see, penis surgery can range from being life-saving to cosmetic. So what considerations should you make before you have surgery? Here are question you might ask yourself.

What are the risks?

No surgery is without risks.

The penis is full of blood vessels, which play a critical role in erections. Sexual stimulation makes penile arteries widen, allowing blood to fill the penis. Once there is enough blood, veins contract to keep the blood inside.  This is what makes the penis rigid enough for intercourse.  After the man ejaculates, the veins relax and the blood flows back into the body.

Because of the intricate network of arteries and veins, bleeding and infection are common risks of penis surgery.

Another risk is dissatisfaction with results. While not a medical risk, dissatisfaction can lead to emotional or psychological issues. For example, a man might expect penis enlargement surgery to enhance his sex life significantly. In reality, it might not make much difference. Or, a man who has surgery for erectile dysfunction may expect stronger erections that don’t happen.

It’s difficult to know what the exact outcome of surgery will be, so it’s important to consider all possibilities and how you’ll handle them.

Are there alternatives?

In many cases, surgery is not the only treatment option.

Treatment for erectile dysfunction, for example, often starts with medication, which can be taken orally or through suppositories placed in the urethra. If medication is not effective, there are other ways to achieve erection. Some men find success with special vacuum devices or penile injections. While these methods may not be convenient, they still provide a safe alternative to surgery.

Men seeking penile enlargement surgery may have body image issues that can be addressed through counseling. Some men really do believe their penis is inferior, when in fact it is average size. Effective therapy can help them see that their situation is typical and surgery can be avoided.

Sometimes penis conditions are caused by other health problems. Erectile dysfunction can be a sign of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, for example. In some cases, treating the underlying condition solves the problem and there is no need for surgery.

Your urologist can tell you about all your options, surgical and non-surgical.

Who should perform my surgery?

You might think, “That’s easy! A urologist, of course!” But urologists have different types of specialties. Some may focus more on urinary issues than sexual ones.

It’s best to interview several urologists until you find one you’re comfortable with. Ask how much experience the urologist has and find out how many procedures he or she performs on a regular basis.

Your urologist will also tell you how to properly prepare for your surgery. Some men need to take antibiotics beforehand or wash with special antiseptics for a few days before the surgery.

How can I learn more?

Being informed about any surgery is important. Ask your doctor if he or she can recommend certain references, like books or websites. Many doctors have pamphlets and handouts available at the office that you can take with you. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor with questions. Also, include your partner in your decision-making process, if you’re comfortable with that. Your partner may think of questions that didn’t occur to you at first.

Overall, there’s a lot to think about with penis surgery. Many men feel nervous and vulnerable at the very thought. It’s something they usually keep private. But keeping lines of communication open and asking lots of questions can help you decide about your treatment options.