More and more men are opting for surgical penis enlargement. Is it a confidence boost, or a con?
It has been more than a year since the operation, but Alistair is still furious about the results. I paid 8,000 and they mutilated me, he says. It was butchery. My partner said it looked like a war wound. My erection is basically ruined.
In July 2017, the 55-year-old decorator, from London, became one of a growing number of British men to have a surgical penis enlargement. Talk of enhancement was once the preserve of promotional spam mail for bizarre-looking pills and pumps; now, it is serious clinical business. British clinics, which have taken consultancy rooms in Harley Street and in UK cities including Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, report record numbers of patients calling on their services. One practice, the London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery, has gone from performing a handful of penis procedures annually when it opened in 1990 to more than 250 in 2017. Between 2013 and 2017, members of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery carried out 45,604 penis enhancements worldwide. Previous numbers are unknown; the procedure was considered such a minority concern that it wasnt included in surveys. This increase in demand seemingly caters to a growing anxiety about penis size, but it is by no means a risk-free procedure. For Alistair, dreams of a larger penis were overtaken by infections, lumps and an erection that no longer rises above a 45-degree angle. And he is not alone. In recent years, the General Medical Council has recorded stories of wonky penises and erectile dysfunction following surgery. In Stockholm, last summer, a 30-year-old man died after suffering a cardiac arrest following an operation to enlarge his penis.
At his Harley Street clinic, Dr Roberto Viel is explaining how a typical enlargement works. First, surgeons sever the organs suspensory ligament, causing it to hang an inch or two lower, giving the impression of extra length. They then extract fat from the patients stomach and inject it into the penis shaft, increasing girth by around two inches. Erect, its worth noting, it remains roughly the same size, suggesting the motives for many men are not necessarily to enhance either their or a partners sexual experience.
The procedure, which can cost more than 5,000, lasts a little over an hour, but causes enough residual discomfort that doctors recommend patients take a week off work. The penis remains bandaged for 10 days. Sex is off the cards for a month. Erection suppressants are prescribed to avoid stitches being ripped open.
Operations are very safe, says Viel, who founded the London Centre for Aesthetic Surgery with his twin brother Maurizio. Perhaps 95% of our patients are very happy. Where they are not, it is often to do with expectations. Some men want 10 inches when nature gave them four or five. I have to say, gently, This is not possible. I am not a miracle worker.