What is Penis Amputation?

Amputation of the penis (penectomy) is an operation that removes the penis. In a partial penectomy, part of the penis is removed. In a total penectomy, the whole penis is removed.

Effects of Penis Amputation

Penectomy is the most common and most effective treatment of cancer of the penis. Lymph nodes in the groin may be taken out during surgery.

Candidates for Penis Amputation

Some men have penile amputations, known as penectomies, for medical reasons. Cancer, for example, sometimes necessitates removal of all or part of the penis. In very rare instances, botched childhood circumcisions have also resulted in full or partial penectomies.

Your Consultation

A doctor should be seen if there are any of the following problems: growths or sores on the penis, any unusual liquid coming from the penis (abnormal discharge), or bleeding. If there are symptoms of cancer, the doctor will examine the penis and feel for any lumps. When a man has cancer of the penis or of the bottom end of the urethra, the best treatment may be amputation of part or all of the penis.

The Penis Amputation Procedure

Partial penectomy removes only the end of the penis. The surgeon leaves enough of the shaft to allow the man to direct his stream of urine away from his body. If the shaft cannot be saved, the man must have a total penectomy. This operation removes the entire penis, including the roots that extend into the pelvis. The surgeon creates a new opening for the urethra (tube from the bladder) between the man’s scrotum (sac for the testicles) and his anus. The man can still control his urination, because the “on-off” valve in the urethra is above the level of the penis.

Recovery

The area heals surprisingly well and quickly after surgery.

Risks

Infection and massive blood loss are the major risks.

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FAQs

What happens during partial penectomy?

Partial removal of the penis involves removing just the tip or head of the penis. The surgeon aims to save as much of the shaft of the penis as possible. This assists with urination by allowing the stream of urine to be directed away from the body. It also means that men can pass urine standing up in public washrooms and so maintain previous habits and routines.

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What happens during total pendectomy?

Total (radical penectomy) removes the entire penis. This includes the parts of the penis that extend into the pelvis. Passing urine is achieved by creating a new opening for the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder.

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Is penectomy necessary in Stage I Penile Cancer?

If the tumor begins in the glans and involves other tissues, treatment may involve amputation of the penis (partial penectomy). Lymph nodes in the groin may also be removed. Other treatment options during this stage are external radiation therapy and microsurgery.

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Is it possible to have sexual intercourse after penectomy?

Men are usually surprised to learn that a satisfying sex life is possible after partial penectomy. The remaining shaft of the penis still becomes erect with excitement. It usually gains enough length to achieve penetration. Although the most sensitive area of the penis (the glans or “head”) is gone, a man can still reach orgasm and have normal ejaculation. His partner also can still enjoy intercourse and often reach orgasm.

Some men give up on sex after total penectomy. Since cancer of the penis is most common in elderly men, many have already stopped sexual activity because of other health problems. If a man is willing to put some effort into his sex life, however, pleasure is possible after total penectomy. He can learn to reach orgasm when sensitive areas such as the scrotum, skin behind the scrotum, and the area surrounding the surgical scars are caressed. Having a sexual fantasy or looking at erotic pictures or stories can also increase excitement.

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