Complications of Genital Enlargement Surgery

J Sex Med. 2018 Dec;15(12):1811-1817. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.10.007. Epub 2018 Nov 13.


Introduction: The objective of genital enlargement surgery is to increase length and/or girth for cosmetic reasons; however, newer techniques have been recently reported to be associated with only minor complications in a small percentage of patients.

Aim: We aim to report the severe complications of penile augmentation surgery seen at a referral center and describe their subsequent management.

Methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained. We reviewed our prospectively collected database for all patients who presented with complications of genital enlargement surgery from 2002-2016.

Main outcome measure: Interventions following complications of genital enlargement surgery.

Results: 11 Patients were identified. Mean age was 47 (21-77) years. Prior procedures included subcutaneous injection of silicone outside a medical setting, girth enhancement procedures involving the subcutaneous placement or injection of substances including fat, other substances, or subcutaneous silicone implants. All patients who underwent subcutaneous penile implant underwent removal prior to presentation. Adverse changes included sexually disabling penile deformity and severe shortening, curvature, edema, subcutaneous masses, infection, non-healing wounds, and sexual dysfunction. 10 patients underwent corrective surgery, with 2 requiring multiple procedures and 3 requiring split-thickness skin grafting. All 10 patients had an improved cosmetic appearance and those who had disabling shortening had significantly improved functional length.

Clinical implications: Report of such adverse events should assist in appropriate perioperative counseling prior to genital enhancement surgery.

Strength & limitations: Few reports of debilitating complications of penile enlargement exist in literature. However, without knowing the overall number of procedures performed, the true complication incidence is not known.

Conclusion: Penile and scrotal enhancement surgery can be associated with major disabling complications, leading to deformity and functional compromise in men with prior normal anatomy and function. Patients should be aware of these risks. Furr J, Hebert K, Wisenbaugh E, et al. Complications of Genital Enlargement Surgery. J Sex Med 2018;15:1811-1817.

Keywords: Men’s Enhancement; Penile Enlargement; Silicone Implant; Subcutaneous Penile Implant.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penile Diseases / etiology*
  • Penile Implantation / adverse effects*
  • Penile Implantation / methods
  • Penile Prosthesis / adverse effects*
  • Penis / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Silicones / adverse effects
  • Urogenital Surgical Procedures / adverse effects


  • Silicones