Men with Peyronie’s disease should be aware of possible penile shortening after surgical treatment, experts say. But some procedures might be able to preserve length.
Peyronie’s disease is a benign condition characterized by areas of hardened scar tissue called plaques that form just beneath the skin of the penis. Typically, Peyronie’s disease goes through two phases. During the first (active) phase, men usually experience pain, and their penis starts to curve. In the second (stable) phase, pain tends to subside, but the curve remains, and some men have trouble with erections. Sometimes, the curve is so severe that intercourse becomes impossible.
Not surprisingly, Peyronie’s disease can lead to emotional distress and sexual dissatisfaction. Once the curve has stabilized, many men opt for surgical treatment. However, surgery has some drawbacks, including penile shortening.
This loss of length can worsen emotional distress. Men often associate their penis size with their masculinity. Having it reduced may make them feel like less of a man.
So how does surgery affect penile length? A team of scientists reviewed a number of medical studies to find out about the latest developments. They published their findings in the journal Sexual Medicine Reviews.
Here are some of the highlights:
Plication procedures. These approaches straighten the penis by suturing the side of the penis without plaques. There is usually a minimal amount of shortening; men with severe curvature might have greater length loss.
Plaque incision or partial excision and grafting. For this technique, the surgeon makes an incision directly in the plaque(s) and straightens the penis. Then, the surgeon covers the area with graft material. This approach can restore length, but some men have erectile dysfunction afterward.
Penile implantation with size restoration. In implant procedures, paired cylinders are placed in the chambers of the penis that fill with blood during erections. These can be manually inflated for an erection. The previously described techniques above can be used at the same time to lengthen the penis to its pre-Peyronie’s length (plaque incision with graft or other techniques), but there could be complications.
Men should understand the pros and cons of their surgery options and discuss their concerns with their surgical team.
The study authors recommended that the more complex procedures be conducted by experienced surgeons only.
To learn more about Peyronie’s disease, please see these links:
Peyronie’s Disease (overview of causes, diagnosis, and treatment)
What is the Curve? The Emotional Impact of Peyronie’s Disease
Peyronie’s Disease – Talking to a Healthcare Provider
“Peyronie’s disease – Diagnosis and treatment”
(August 7, 2017)
Sexual Medicine Reviews
Barrett-Harlow, Brittani, MD, et al.
“New Developments in Surgical Treatment for Penile Size Preservation in Peyronie’s Disease”
(Full-text. Published online: October 6, 2018)
Urology Care Foundation
“What is Peyronie’s Disease?”