Penis enlargement is a cosmetic procedure intended to enhance the length and girth of the male sexual organ. Many devices and products claim to be capable of lengthening or widening the penis, but experts say that most of these claims aren't true. Only surgical penis enlargement is considered able to legitimately achieve these results. Experts advise caution to those considering this cosmetic procedure, however, because the procedure has not yet been thoroughly researched and the risks may outweigh the potential benefits. Complications can include permanent damage to the tissues of the penis, and erectile dysfunction.
The normal, adult male penis typically varies in length from 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) when not erect. The normal erect human penis is usually 5 to 7 inches (12.7 to 17.8 cm) long. A man whose erect penis is shorter than 3 inches (7.6 cm) is considered to suffer from micropenis, a medical condition in which the penis is considered abnormally small. Cultural influences in many societies can lead a man to believe that his penis is significantly shorter than average. Men who struggle with this body image issue may believe themselves to be sexually inadequate.
Many of the methods, devices, and supplements used for penis enlargement have not been proven effective. Non-surgical methods of penis enlargement can include jelqing, a technique that involves stretching the tissues of the penis by hand. Vacuum pumps often claim to be able to enlarge the penis, but these effects usually aren't permanent. Some proponents of penis enlargement believe that attaching weighted devices to the penis can stretch and lengthen the tissues of the reproductive organ. Creams and supplements often claim to be capable of enlarging the penis naturally, through the use of herbs and vitamins.
Medical experts warn that these methods of penis enlargement are ineffective, and, in some ways, dangerous. Vacuum pumps, weighted devices, and jelqing can tear or injure the tissues of the penis, leading to permanent scarring, deformity and erectile dysfunction. Surgical procedures can increase the length and girth of the penis, but doctors do not yet fully understand the risks inherent to these surgeries.
There are several surgical procedures used to enlarge the penis, or give the impression of penile enlargement. Surgeons can make the penis appear longer by severing the tendon that attaches it to the pelvic bone. Grafts of fatty tissue, either from a donor or from the patient himself, can be injected into the penis to enhance its girth.
Surgeons often point out that penis enlargement surgery generally isn't terribly successful. Many men remain dissatisfied with the results of the surgery. The surgery normally adds only about 0.5 inch (1.3 cm) of length to the penis. Procedures to widen the penis can leave the penis deformed in appearance. Complications can include erectile dysfunction, scarring, and abnormal hair growth on the penis.