Phalloplasty surgery involves the creation of a penis from organic tissue harvested from donor locations on the anatomy. The technique can be performed on both male and transgender female-to-male patients, but has many shortcomings which may leave some recipients feeling only moderately satisfied with their results.
While this term is also sometimes used to describe various methods of surgically increasing the size of a normal functional penis, the focus of this article will be exclusively on detailing procedures in which a penis is artificially created to replace a damaged, missing or micro-penis, as well as the application commonly utilized for penis creation in transgender patients.
What is a Phalloplasty?
This surgical technique literally fabricates a penis-like structure, complete with functional urethra, from free-grafted donor tissue usually harvested from the inner forearm, inner thigh, flank or abdomen.
This donor tissue is formed into the shape of a phallus and provided with vascular and neurological connections to make it feel more like a real penis.
Unfortunately, the penis is not capable of having an erection naturally and patients who desire this functionality must undergo additional operations to place implants, bony tissue, mechanical pumps or hydraulic pumps which can cause the phallus to grow and stiffen, much in the same manner as a natural erectile response.
The upside of penis creation surgery is that it allows men who have lost their penis, or have had it damaged in some way, to regain a more typical look to their anatomy.
It also allows men born with micro-penis to stand the chance at gaining a larger phallus.
The most common use for the operation is to provide a penis to female-to-male transgender patients, who choose this option more for form than functionality.
The biggest problem involved in free grafting tissue includes the possibility for necrosis, which can cause the entire operation to fail.
The most common patient complaint for successful surgeries is the inability to have an erection and the lack of realistic sensation in the donor tissue.
For men who need penis repair, or replacement, the options are limited and the created phallus may be about the best it can get.
For transgender female-to-male recipients, there is also the choice of undergoing metoidioplasty, which creates a far smaller penis out of the clitoris and is light years better for patient sexual response and satisfaction. It can be a tough choice to make, but at least there is more than one option.
Hopefully, in the future, there will be advances in phallus surgery to allow more recipients to enjoy better and more diversified use of their new penis, without so many potentially disappointing conditions.