(Article medically reviewed by Dr. Zac Hyde M.D)
Can prostate surgery shrink your penis?
Unfortunately, yes it can.
Most men who undergo radical prostatectomy experience significant penis atrophy.
Fortunately, many of these men will recover this loss within the first year, so the news isn’t all bad.
Now before we dive into the meat of this article, I’d like to discuss two things you can do to improve the odds that you’ll recover any losses.
If you haven’t had the surgery yet, have a consultation with a surgeon who specializes in nerve-sparing prostate surgery.
The prostate is surrounded with nerves that are vital for erectile function. If you can preserve these nerves you’ll be much more likely to achieve erections post surgery.
And these erections will help to quickly reverse any atrophy that hits you following your operation.
Death of nerve cells and reduced blood flow delivering oxygen to the penis after surgery are big players in post surgery penile atrophy.
A randomized controlled trial performed by a team of researchers out of Minnesota…
Found that patients who used a penis pump starting one month after surgery preserved penile length at both test points.
In the patients who didn’t pump, stretched penile length was significantly decreased at both 3 and 6 months.
The pumpers also scored significantly higher International Index of Erectile Function scores, so pumping also provided erection benefits.
To gain these benefits, the men pumped for a measly 10 minutes a day for five months with no constriction ring.
So if you haven’t gone under the knife yet, look into nerve-sparing surgery.
If you’ve already had the surgery, consider pumping to minimize your losses and preserve erectile function.
Now here’s part 2…
Can Prostate Surgery Shrink Your Penis?
Most men go most of their lives without ever giving much thought to their prostate.
In fact, despite the importance this tiny gland plays in our sex lives, the vast majority of us won’t even know it’s there until something goes wrong.
And when prostate problems do strike, surgery can be the order of the day. Unfortunately, as with all surgeries, prostate surgery can have serious side effects.
In this article, we’ll discuss one side effect of going under the knife that your doctor might not be so eager to discuss.
Specifically, we’re talking about the potential for prostate surgery to actually shrink your penis.
While it might sound farfetched, I can assure you that the threat is very real. In this article, we’ll focus on what you can do about it.
A small round gland located under the bladder, your prostate produces several fluids that help make up your seminal fluid.
During orgasm, the prostate works with the seminal vesicles to force this fluid into the urethra, where it can properly expelled as ejaculate.
Despite being not much bigger than a walnut, the prostate is prone to a number of conditions.
The first is prostatitis, an inflammation that – in most cases – can be easily treated with antibiotics.
The next most common issue is known as enlarged prostate. This is typically age-related and not very serious.
However, it can be problematic enough to result in surgery.
Lastly, you have the most serious prostate-related problem: prostate cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in men (not counting skin cancer).
About 249,000 cases are diagnosed every year, equivalent to roughly 1 in every 8 men.
And though most men do not die from prostate cancer, many choose surgery as part of their treatment.
Prostate Surgery and Penis Size
For years, few doctors paid heed to the reports that some men who underwent prostate surgery were complaining about decreased penis size.
Whether they simply chalked the condition up to post-recovery anxiety or considered it an insignificant health concern is unclear.
Either way, it’s safe to say that the medical community was not very forthright about the potential for men to experience this side effect.
Indeed, it wasn’t until recently that the researchers began looking at the link between surgery and shrinkage with any real effort.
Finally, a study in the Journal of Urology examined 126 men who had undergone prostate surgery to find that they, on average, lost half an inch from their flaccid length and a full inch from their erect length.
To make matters worse, another study discovered that some 71% of men reported experiencing these effects post-surgery (source).
This is, of course, far from insignificant.
In yet another example of mainstream medicine failing to listen to patients, countless men have suffered penile shrinkage without so much as a sympathetic ear, let alone a warning.
Fortunately, more research on the subject is quickly bringing about both explanations for this condition, and possible solutions.
Two Types of Post Prostate Surgery Shrinkage
There are two types of damage that can be caused during a prostatectomy.
While not entirely understood, only one of these changes is currently thought to be permanent.
This new information largely hinges on a 2017 study led by Dr. Yoshifumi Kadono, and goes a long way toward explaining the shrinkage phenomenon (source).
In this case, the researchers studied the penis lengths of 102 men both before and after surgery.
While it was true that there was a marked decrease in size during recovery, the men generally saw their penises return to the original length after about one year.
Reuters reports that the study also used an MRI to determine the cause of the change.
In this case, they found that the portion of the urethra directly under the bladder moved upward after prostate removal, thus reducing the patient’s overall penile length.
However, after significant internal healing, this condition reversed itself and the length returned.
The second cause of post-surgery shrinkage is due to the soft tissue and nerves being damaged.
It seems that because of the severity of these injuries, the penis will often go quite some time without becoming erect.
This deprives the damaged tissue of much needed oxygen rich blood.
Unfortunately, as the hard tissue heals, it begins to harden, ultimately causing penile atrophy.
Once this takes place, there is little hope of recovering the lost length.
Luckily, there is new evidence that post-operation penile rehabilitation may prevent this condition entirely (source).
In one study, researchers used a vacuum erectile device to increase arterial flow to the penile tissues, thus preventing them from atrophying.
This was not only shown to improve erectile function, but preserve penile size even after cavernous nerve injury.
With any luck, prostate surgery complications like this will soon become a thing of the past.
Can Prostate Surgery Shrink Your Penis–Conclusion:
Despite all of the advances made in recent years, there’s no guarantee that prostate surgery won’t result in temporary or permanent shrinkage.
Fortunately, there are even more reasons to be optimistic about prostate issues in general.
Thanks to improved monitoring and imaging technology, men with slow-growing prostate tumors can now opt to merely keep an eye on the problem rather than going under the knife.
Indeed, a 2019 report suggests that up to 42% of these low-risk men are holding off on surgery and performing “active surveillance” on their disease instead.
Though this might mean a few more trips to the doctor every year, it will also ensure their sex life stays on track, and their size remains intact.