19 April 2011

Urologists nix surgery in favor of mechanical penile lengtheners

by Kate Melville

In a rebuff to surgical penile augmentation, a meta-review of studies into penile lengthening recommends that men use non-invasive mechanical penile extenders before contemplating lengthening surgery. The review, by Italian urologists, was published in the British Journal of Urology International. It follows on from earlier research into mechanical lengthening devices conducted at the same institute

The authors of the review concluded that penile extenders are more successful than techniques like vacuum devices, exercises and Botox injections. They also noted that surgical augmentation procedures were far from perfect. "Surgery is characterized by a risk of complications and unwanted outcomes and lack of consensus among the medical profession on the indications for surgery and the techniques used. That is why a non-invasive technique is preferable," said co-author Marco Oderda.

Oderda stressed that for many men, the lengthening was unnecessary, and a psychological condition known as small penis syndrome was to blame. "The main problem with patients who complain of 'short penis' and who request surgical correction is that they often overestimate 'normal' penile length. They suffer from so-called 'dysmorphophobia', a condition consisting of an imaginary flaw in the physical appearance, in this case a false perception of inadequacy of the penis even though its dimensions fall within the normal range."

For men with this syndrome, the authors recommend the psychological aspect should be the main concern and a multidisciplinary approach, comprising urological, psychosexual and psychological assessment be undertaken.

The meta-review looked at 5 studies into surgical lengthening and 6 studies that examined the use of penile extenders and other non-invasive techniques. Oderda said the surgical techniques resulted in average flaccid size increases of between 1.3cm and 2.5cm. The studies of penile extenders resulted in average flaccid size increases of 0.5cm to 2.3cm.

As far as other enlargement techniques go, the review notes that a study into vacuum treatment showed no significant physical change after six months of therapy, while there was no available scientific data on penile lengthening exercises.

"Our review suggests that penile extenders represent an effective and durable method of penile lengthening, capable of elongating the penis by an average of 1.8cm with minimal side effects. This compares favorably with surgery, which is much more invasive," concluded review co-author Professor Paolo Gontero. The review also notes that the application of such devices can be recommended in all patients, regardless of penile length, because of the low risk of complications.

Read the review
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Source: British Journal of Urology International