Saturday, February 21, 2015

Penile Reduction Surgery - What's the Truth Behind This Story?

Over week gone by, the Murdoch press were at it again with absolute rubbish click bait articles which effectively ridiculed a teenager who needed to have surgery to reduce the girth of his penis.  The article shows an image of an American football with the caption “An American football ... not usually used as a simile when describing the size and shape of a man’s manhood.”   Well, they aren’t attributing that comment to anybody because it is they who are saying it to draw attention to the article.  I won’t give the URL for the link to various Murdoch news outlet articles as I am not in the business of giving them anymore weblink clicks than they deserve. 

For a change, it is actually a true story about an American teenager who did need surgery to reduce the girth of a significantly large penis. The details of the case were published on line ahead of print by the prestigious journal called the Journal of Sexual Medicine. It was actually up on line in mid November 2014 so it has taken a while before news outlets got hold of story.

The case is about a 17 year teenager who was born with sickle cell anaemia. Individuals with this condition have a tendency for blood to congeal in vessels and therefore affecting the flow of blood to various organs.  One of the organs that can be affected is the penis and the most problematic complication for the penis is that of priapism. Priapism is a prolonged erection of the penis.  It is unpleasant, unwanted and not uncommonly associated with pain.  This teenager had experienced three such episodes of priapism since he was 10 years of age for which emergency treatment was required on each occasion.  A complication of priapism is damage to spongy tissue that fill the corpora cavernosa of the penis.  The copora cavernosa are the paired structures in the shaft of the penis that distend with blood to become erect.  Damage to the spongy tissue of the corpora lead to ballooning of the spongy tissue also known as aneurysmal dilatation.  With the integrity of the spongy tissue damaged, the corpora became distended and so much so that its girth was creating both physical and functional disability.

The surgery to reduce the girth of the penis involves excising segments of the coverings of the corpora cavernosa and suturing closed the defect.  The end result is reduced calibre corpora cavernosa.

Image from

Forget the talk of football sized penises, this unfortunate teenager has been unlucky enough to have an inherited disease that lead to the complication of priapism which in turn was complicated by aneurysmal dilatation.  This is obviously a very rare condition and it is unlikely that a similar case will reported any time soon.

Given that the real story behind this case lies behind a pay wall, the junk press finds it easy to stray from the truth and hence my reasons for summarizing the principal details of this case in this blog piece.

1 comment:

  1. Thank You Dr. Henry Woo for caring to make and post this information. I am now smarter on matters of the penis. This turned up in my search for "Penile Reduction". Long ago, I had read some circumcision medical studies monikered as penile reduction surgery. Now I can't find even a trace of them.