Penis stretchers are medically approved devices that have been clinically proven to increase the length and to a lesser degree girth of the penis. For more than a year, ominous rumors had been circulating about the possibility of medically enhancing the size of the penis. In response to these reports, an American Urological Association (AUA) spokesman in 1991 responded: “Sounds experimental…dangerous.” What the kindly Texas urologist did not know was that for at least two decades, his own Journal of Urology had featured numerous articles on penile lengthening procedures written by established pediatric urologists working out of university-affiliated hospitals.
At the armual meeting of the AUA in 1986, Drs. Josh and Kalm presented an intriguing film entitled Augmentation Phalloplasty, which made my must-see list. In actuality, Dr. L. Subrini from Montpellier, France, already described his experience doing the operation back in 1984. Working with 49 patients, he averaged a gain in penile length of about 1 1/4” (3 cm) using the partial suspensory ligament release technique.
By 1988, enough case experience had been amassed to present my own video at the AUA meeting in Boston, showing that the mainstays of pediatric penile lengthening, pubic lipectomy, and suspensory ligament release were readily transferable to adults. “Dangerous?” asked the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Stephen Kramer in the Journal of Urology (1986). In his article, he reported the long term results regarding cosmetic appearance and function of surgerized boys with a severe congenital anomaly (epispadias). His technique of suspensory ligament release is also well-illustrated. “Normal erectile function was preserved in all patients,” he reported.
With little enthusiasm among urologists for the procedure, I turned to the media to promote penile lengthening. Collectively their reaction was one of indifference. But in 1990, an assistant surprised me with an article from the Fort Iauderdale Sun Sentinel. telling about a girth enhancement procedure performed by Dr. Ricardo Samitier of Miami. My initial reaction was jealousy, but if the media was now ripe for such publications, perhaps the Miami Herald would do a story on my lengthening procedure as well. A writer who was working on an article featuring Dr. Samitier said she would hold the presses to include mention of penile lengthening. The Knight Ridder newspaper chain and Associated Press seized upon the byline. and that was the shot heard around the world. At last, our work was catapulted into the orbit of public (or pubic) awareness.
While autologous transfer of fat (removing tat from one part of a person’s body and transferring to another) had been reported as early as 1893 at the 23rd Congress of the German Surgical Society. the experience of plastic surgeons was disappointing. It has taken almost 100 years to learn the simple fact that fat must be harvested and reinjected with care.
In mid 1990, Dr. Samitier allowed me to watch his technique, and thus the procedure evolved. Quite honestly, my initial results were somewhat erratic. Length gains were variable and fat reabsorbed and occasionally lumped (fibrofatty nodules), but over the last two years, enhancements in the procedure have resulted in much more impressive results.
In 1992, the Washington Post published an article entitled “A Growth Industry in China…Inch by Inch,” about Dr. Long Daochou a well-regard- ed chief of plastic surgery at Wuhan, who has built up an immense trade in penile enhancement surgery. He is a salaried employee of the People’s Republic and his patients are all subsidized by the government. This in itself should efface any misgivings that the operation doesn’t work. The Chinese have long had a penchant for penile reconstruction as acknowledged in Plastic Surgery (little Brown, 1991) by Ashton and Smith of New York Hospital, Cornell University.
On May 18, 1993 at the AUA meeting in San Antonio, Drs. Richard Berger and Gilbert Rigaud of Seattle presented a paper on penile lengthening, getting results in the 1 1/2″ (4 cm) range, when operating on patients with Peyronie’s disease who had simultaneous insertion of a penile prosthesis. Despite a few complications, the results are very encouraging.
As further news breaks, Gary Griffin, the great chronicler of genital enhancement, will know. He has entree to all our offices. What doctors won’t say to each other, they’ll say to him. At this juncture, it is probably fair to claim we have emerged from the nadir of cynicism. Whither genital enhancement now? I think the world will long remember what we do.