Penis enlargement procedures might seem like a godsend to men embarrassed about their size.
However, experts are warning against the treatments, claiming they should “almost never” be carried out.
In the first place, there is “scant” evidence they actually produce the desired effect, according to a review.
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Such procedures also have a high risk of complications, including permanent numbness in the penile area, as well as a high dissatisfaction rate.
Gordon Muir, a urologist at King’s College hospital in London conducted the review together with researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London.
These procedures should almost never be done,” writes Muir in the paper.
“They can cost up to £30,000 or even £40,000, often the man ends up with a penis that is disfigured and there is no more than 20% satisfaction rates with these procedures.”
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The review identifies 21 different types of penis enlargement procedures performed on 1,192 men in Britain and abroad.
The most common procedures vary from injections of dermal fillers into the penis and a procedure known as suspensory ligament incision, an invasive lengthening treatment.
Major complications include “penile deformity, shortening, and erectile dysfunction,” concludes the paper, which was published in the Sexual Medicine Reviews journal.
Mr Arie Parnham, consultant urologist at Pall Mall Medical, tells Yahoo UK he has seen this first hand.
“I certainly see a number of patients who have undergone penile enlargement surgery, in order to ‘enhance’ length and girth, but have been left disappointed or suffer a complication post-op.”
Men mistakenly believe their penises are “too small”
While those getting these procedures believe their penis to be “too small”, Parnham stresses many of these men actually have “normal length” penises.
The truth is that the majority of men, who suffer from insecurities around penis size, are physically normal,” he adds.
The average penis size in the UK is said to be 3.6 inches (9.16cm) when flaccid and 5.21 inches (13.24cm) when erect, according to NHS Choices.
Penis enlargement clinics target “vulnerable men”
Despite the range of penis enlargement treatments availablee, there is a general “lack of evidence” to them, according to Parnham – who believes they are exploitative.
“There are many clinics out there who advertise penile enlargement treatments, which fuel unrealistic expectations and promise results which are medically unfeasible,” says Parnham,
“There is a lack of good evidence to support the treatment, both in the short term and long term.”
Some are carried out on the NHS for medical reasons, for instance after a traumatic injury. However, the vast majority are carried out in the private sector, at substantial cost.
For instance, a penile extension operation – which involves similar work to a hernia operation costing £3,000 on the NHS – can cost up to £40,000.
“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. Surgeons in the private sector should not do this. It’s wrong on every level.”
For those still wishing to explore the option of penis enlargement surgery, Muir recommends caution.
““Our view is that only men who have been fully appraised of the technical problems that occur, have been told the truth about that, and been through a full psychological assessment, should consider it,” he adds.