Penectomy Surgery, Risks, And Outlook

Penectomy Surgery, Risks, And Outlook

Penectomy refers to surgical removal of penis. It is a serious procedure that is reserved only for advanced penile disease – in which anatomy and physiology of penis is damaged beyond repair.

What should you know about Penis Cancer?

The most common indication of penectomy is malignancy of penis – which is an uncommon cancer with morbid complications.  Statistics reported by American Cancer Society suggested that over 2,100 cases of penile cancer were reported in the United States in year 2017. Data indicates that penis cancer occurs more frequently in Asian, African -American and Latin American males when compared to Caucasians or Europeans.

Some common histological varieties of penile cancer are:

  • Squamous cell
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Melanoma
  • Sarcoma

Everything you should know about Penectomy:

Clinically, there are 2 variants of penectomy procedure depending upon the extent of disease and involvement of surrounding tissues.

Partial penectomy: In case of mild or superficial disease, your surgeon will only excise the diseased tissue, followed by restorative surgery.

Complete penectomy: As the name indicates, this procedure is reserved for severe or advanced disease of penis and involves complete excision of penile tissue; i.e. shaft, tip and base of penis. In some cases, your surgeon may also excise diseased tissue from the pelvic wall to minimize the risk of recurrence. Common indications are advanced metastatic disease or severe injury leading to permanent damage to penile tissue.

What are some complications or adverse effects of penectomy procedure?

The risk of complications depends on the procedure and extent of disease:

  • Longstanding pain or feeling of discomfort
  • Infection of the surgical site
  • Formation of clots, abscess or mass
  • Inflammation or blockage of lymphatics that may present with symptoms of lymphedema
  • Inability to pass urine in the standing position
  • Obliteration or excessive narrowing of urethra
  • Inability to maintain normal/ healthy sexual relationships

What to expect after the procedure?

The outcome or prognosis of penectomy procedure depends largely on the extent of disease (tumor dimensions and extent of spread), overall patient factors (such as health status, coexisting medical conditions, age, etc.) and expertise of the surgeon.

If performed in expert hands, prognosis of localized disease is generally satisfactory. For advanced disease, prognosis may vary from case to case.

Here is what you can expect:

  • In most cases, your surgeon will create a new opening for the drainage of urine between anus and scrotum.
  • In case of advanced disease, if your surgeon has removed testicles, you may need exogenous testosterone replacement therapy
  • It is highly advisable to keep up with the follow up appointments
  • Your doctor may leave a urinary catheter after the procedure to allow pain-free excretion of urine

How to hasten recovery?

Soon after the procedure, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers to ensure your recovery period is pain-free. To expedite recovery process, avoid heavy weight lifting soon after the surgery.

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