The Rise of the Neophallus: A Systematic Review of Penile Prosthetic Outcomes and Complications in Gender-Affirming Surgery

J Sex Med. 2019 May;16(5):661-672. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.03.009. Epub 2019 Apr 5.


Background: Penile prostheses are commonly used to achieve erectile rigidity after phalloplasty in trans masculine patients. Implantation poses significant challenges because of the delicate nature of the neophallus and lack of native erectile tissue. Many groups have developed novel phalloplasty and prosthesis insertion techniques, but none have proven superior.

Aim: To analyze and aggregate reported characteristics and outcomes of penile prosthesis implantation in the trans masculine patient.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search of Medline, EMBASE, and Cochrane Registry databases was conducted for studies published through February 19, 2019, with multiple search terms related to penile prosthesis use in gender-affirming surgical procedures.

Outcomes: Studies were included and tabulated if they reported prosthesis outcomes in patients who received a neophallus as part of a gender-affirming procedure.

Results: 23 journal articles met inclusion criteria from 434 references identified. All selected articles were either retrospective or case series/reports. A total of 1,056 patients underwent phalloplasty, and 792 received a penile prosthesis. Most (83.6%) of the prostheses were inflatable, whereas 16.4% were non-inflatable. The number of cylinders used for each prosthesis was 61.0% single-cylinder and 39.0% double-cylinder. The mean follow-up duration was 3.0 years. Of patients who received a prosthesis, 36.2% reported a prosthesis complication; at follow-up 60.0% of patients had their original implant present, and 83.9% reported achieving penetration.

Clinical implications: Prosthesis implantation in gender-affirming operations poses significant risk of complication, but it is still a reasonable and useful method to achieve rigidity necessary for sexual intercourse.

Strength & limitation: This is the first study to aggregate all reported penile prosthesis characteristics and outcomes in trans masculine patients. This study was significantly limited by inconsistent reporting of demographics, sensation, urinary health, patient satisfaction, and penetrative sex. The lack of comparative studies precluded any meaningful meta-analytical comparison.

Conclusions: There is a great need for a prosthesis designed to meet the specific needs of the trans masculine patient after phalloplasty. Standardized methods of reporting implant outcomes including sexual function, sensation, and patient satisfaction should be refined for future studies. This study can assist patients and surgeons about the risks and benefits of this procedure. Rooker SA, Vyas KS, DiFilippo EC, et al. The Rise of the Neophallus: A Systematic Review of Penile Prosthetic Outcomes and Complications in Gender-Affirming Surgery. J Sex Med 2019;16:661-672.

Keywords: Complications; Erectile Device; Female-to-Male; Gender Dysphoria; Neophallus; Outcomes; Penile Prosthesis; Phalloplasty; Transgender.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Penile Erection
  • Penile Implantation / methods*
  • Penile Prosthesis*
  • Penis / surgery
  • Transsexualism / surgery*