Men Should Know About Complications of Penis Enlargement Surgery

Penis enlargement surgery can have serious complications, and men should be aware of them before undergoing any procedure, according to a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study.

Penis enlargement surgery aims to increase length and/or girth, often because the man is not satisfied with the size of his penis. Augmentation may involve injections of silicone, injections of hyaluronic acid, fat transplantation or other methods.

While not all men experience complications, some outcomes are severe. Scarring, buildup of fat, and movement of materials can lead to sexual problems, decreased sensation, and penile deformity. For example, substances in silicone injections can damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to poor penile sensation or erectile dysfunction (ED). Men who have these injections may also have swelling and see the material shift in location. Fat injections have been linked to fat necrosis (cell death) or reabsorption by the body.

The Study

The study involved 11 men with an average age of 47 years who sought treatment for complications after a penis enlargement procedure. Original procedures were not performed at the treatment location.

Four men injected materials themselves (silicone or saline), without the guidance of a physician. Another three men had doctors conduct the injections [silicone, fat, and acellular dermis (tissues from other mammals)]. The remaining four received silicone implants provided by a physician. Complications included swelling, infections, abscesses or nodules beneath the skin, penile shortening, gangrene, and erectile dysfunction (ED).

Ten patients had corrective surgery to remove the enlargement materials. Penile appearance and function improved, but none of the men had a “completely normal penis” afterward. The authors noted that penile enhancement surgery is experimental and that dermal fillers are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this purpose.

They added that most men seeking such procedures have normal penises, both in size and structure. These men may benefit from counseling to help them understand the range of normal penis size.

Things To Consider

If you aren’t already circumcised, you’ll need to do this before the procedure.
You can go home the same day as the procedure.
You’ll need to arrange a ride to and from the procedure.
The procedure generally takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete.
Your surgeon will use general anesthesia to keep you asleep during the procedure.
You’ll return for a follow-up visit two to three days later.
Your penis will be swollen for a few weeks after the surgery.
You’ll need to abstain from masturbation and sexual activity for about six weeks.

Penis Size: What's Normal, What's Not?

The fear that your penis looks too small or is too small to satisfy your partner during sex is common. But studies have shown that most men who think their penises are too small actually have normal-sized penises.

Similarly, studies suggest that many men have an exaggerated idea of what constitutes “normal” penis size.

The length of a non-erect penis doesn’t consistently predict length when the penis is erect. If your penis is about 13 cm (5 inches) or longer when erect, it’s of normal size.

A penis is considered abnormally small only if it measures less than 3 inches (about 7.5 centimeters) when erect, a condition called micropenis.


Many men believe that increasing the size of their penis will make them a better lover or make them more attractive. But chances are your penis is within the normal size range. Even if your penis is smaller than average, it may not matter to your partner. In addition, there’s no proven way to make a penis larger.