The Locker Room Syndrome

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The Locker Room Syndrome


The size and shape of a man’s penis may have a profound effect on their body image and confidence. ‘Men who seek penile enlargement surgery have usually suffered humiliation in a setting such as a changing room,’ explains Dr Moore. ‘We call this the locker room syndrome. Increasingly, the desire for this procedure is also triggered by an unfavourable comment by a sexual partner.’

Penile enlargement surgery, also known as phalloplasty, is an outpatient procedure to enlarge the penis permanently. The surgeon can lengthen or widen the penis, or both. Dr Moore says in around 95 percent of cases the lengthening and widening procedures can be performed together.

‘In the erect state the length of the penis can usually be increased between 2.5 and 5 centimetres,’ he says. ‘In the flaccid state the length can normally be doubled. Width can be increased by around 1 to 2cm in both the flaccid and erect state.’

The lengthening procedure involves an incision at the bottom of the abdomen, which frees the ligament attachment of the penis to the front of the pubic bone. This pushes the penis forward and, as a result, the part of the penis that was previously hidden now becomes visible. Some soft tissues are also rotated so the penis does not reattach. Now when the penis is erect it will be around 30 degrees further away from the abdomen than before.

For widening surgery, grafts are taken from the buttock/ thigh folds or from the pubic area, if there is enough fat. Taking fat from the pubic area is desirable as this leaves just one scar across the stomach, which usually fades relatively quickly, often in less than a year. If grafts are taken from the buttock/thigh region, the scars will normally take about three years to fully fade back to the skin’s natural colour. This tissue is grafted underneath the skin of the penis onto the two erectile cylinders. This ensures the increase in diameter is even all along the shaft and back inside the tissues deep within the intra-pubic region.

Dr Moore stresses the difference between dermal fat grafts and fat injections. ‘Fat transfers by injection often have excellent initial results but over time the fat is reabsorbed,’ he says. ‘In a significant number of patients, some pockets of fat persist and cause a distorted, lumpy appearance. This can be very difficult to repair and usually requires complete removal of the remaining fat followed by dermal fat graft surgery.’

After penile lengthening and/or widening surgery, patients experience swelling, which can last for up to three months. If the instructions for post-operative care are followed, recovery will not be painful in most cases. This involves two weeks of bed rest to reduce the risk of a major wound problem. Bandaging is removed after one week and the sutures will dissolve by themselves.

Patients must take medication for two weeks to prevent erections and should refrain from sexual intercourse for at least six weeks to ensure the penis is properly healed.

On average, Dr Moore performs 200 phalloplasties per year, with the majority of patients ranging in age from their late 20s to early 60s. According to Dr Moore, the procedure can significantly increase a man’s confidence and self-esteem

Prof Colin Moore