Here’s How Much Your Penis Can Shrink After Prostate Surgery?
The side effects of surgery for prostate cancer can be daunting—everything from erectile dysfunction to urinary incontinence.
But there might be one a lot of guys aren’t aware of: Radical prostatectomy, or the removal of your prostate gland, can shorten your penis, researchers from Japan discovered. The good news is, the shrinkage is only temporary.
The scientists measured the stretched penis length—a proxy of length when erect—of 102 patients set to undergo a radical prostatectomy before, 10 days after, and then at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months following the procedure.
The participants’ penis lengths were shortest 10 days after the procedure, where they lost an average of 19 millimeters, or three-quarters of an inch, in length from their baseline measurements. Afterwards, the participants’ penises slowly rebounded. By the time they reached the 12-month benchmark, their penis lengths were not significantly different from before they had their prostatectomies. (Find out the average penis size for men.)
Previously, animal studies suggested that the penis shortening could be due to damage to the cavernosal nerve in the penis, or structural alterations as a result of oxygen deficiencies during the procedure, the researchers wrote.
But now, they think something else might be playing a role in the penis shortening. MRI tests showed that the end of the participants’ urethras actually moved inward to the pelvis after the prostate removal. This takes the bulb, or the base of the penis, along with it, causing it to appear shorter.
Over the course of the year, though, the connective tissue holding the pelvic organs in place begins to loosen. As a result, the urethra—and the base of the penis—return to their original position. And that’s likely why penis lengths don’t seem to be any shorter one year after the procedure.