Health + Behavior

Deformities Caused by Unskilled Penile Enhancement Surgery Can Be Fixed, New Study Shows

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Men who suffer complications from penis enlargement surgery can be helpedby reconstructive surgery, according to a study presented by a UCLA surgeonat the American Urological Association's annual meeting on April 16.

Dr. Gary Alter, assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine,reported the results from 19 successful reconstructive surgeries he performedon men who had experienced complications after having penile enhancementsurgery. Most patients referred to him had received some type of fat injectionsto increase the girth and/or a lengthening procedure that entails cuttingligaments near the base of the penis.

"Because there are no established guidelines for performing thesetypes of surgeries, the techniques and the results can vary greatly --and indeed some can cause serious deformities," Alter said.

In the cases reported by Alter, all of the patients had cosmetic peniledeformities, including lumps, shaft asymmetry and distortions, and excesspenile skin. Other complaints included impotence, incontinence and persistentpenile pain.

Alter, who is both a urologist and plastic surgeon, also noted thatthe men referred to him were depressed and distrusted physicians. Often,their initial surgeon had failed to inform them of possible complications.Moreover, the primary surgeon may have performed one or more additionalprocedures that made the results worse, including fat injections, fat removal,circumcision, or scar revisions. "In most cases, deformities and scarscan be improved or corrected. However, the reconstruction often needs tobe done in stages, and in more than one operation," Alter said. "Duringthese revisions, extreme care should be taken to reestablish the patient'strust in physicians."

In recent years, thousands of men have sought penile enhancement, hopingto improve their sex lives and boost their self-esteem. Widespread mediaattention and advertising have fueled the interest in penile enhancementsurgeries. Some techniques are very successful.

"For those patients who have been deformed by surgeries, it iscrucial to seek out a surgeon who has highly specialized skills -- a vastknowledge of plastic surgery principles as well as penile anatomy,"Alter said.

The field of penile enlargement is still being developed and refined.As more procedures are performed and substandard operations are eliminated,complications will decrease, according to Alter, who also has a privatepractice in Beverly Hills.

"Until then, I would advise patients to be very careful about choosinga physician to perform an enhancement -- and if there are complications,be even more careful about who you select to fix it," said Alter.

-UCLA-

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