Evidence lacking on effectiveness of penis enlargement

13 May 2019 - "Many vulnerable men suffer by having needless, ineffective surgical and non-surgical procedures," King's urologist warns

Mr Gordon Muir, Consultant Urologist

A review on the use of surgery and other treatments to enlarge penis size, carried out by researchers at King’s College Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London has been published in the Sexual Medicine Review.

The review, which investigated penile enhancement methods in men without penile abnormalities, found a low level of evidence in favour of penile extenders. It also found no consensus regarding when surgery should be undertaken, if ever. It found overall treatment outcomes were poor, with low satisfaction rates and significant risk of major complications, including penile deformity, shortening, and erectile dysfunction.

In total, 17 studies on penile enhancements were reviewed, assessing a total of 21 enlargement interventions in 1,192 men, with 773 followed up after nonsurgical or surgical treatment. The quality of the studies were found to be poor with regard to the methodology for patient selection and outcomes assessment. Some men reported a size increase; however, complications were frequent, and none of the techniques were externally validated. When provided, counselling was found to be effective, with the majority of men coming to understand their penis was normal and unwilling to undergo any further treatment.

The review will inform clinicians treating patients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) or Penile Dysmorphic Disorder (PDD), anxiety disorders which can have serious detrimental effects on health. Notably, PDD is associated with high rates of psychiatric hospitalisation. The study could help doctors to ensure they provide adequate counselling and treatment, and help patients avoid ineffective and risky procedures.

Mr Gordon Muir, Consultant Urologist at King’s College Hospital who led on the research, said, “We have a large research base in the field of penis enlargement and genital dysmorphia. Many men who wish to undergo penis enlargement procedures have an average-sized penis but believe their size to be inadequate. Sadly, some clinics seem to ignore this.

“Most treatments to increase penis size are not evidence-based, and their efficacy is extremely limited. Many vulnerable men suffer by having needless, ineffective surgical and non-surgical procedures. Hopefully this study will help to show men who do not have penile abnormalities that counselling can be the most effective form of treatment.”


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Notes to editors

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