Peyronie’s Surgery Risks

Peyronie’s surgery risks

Peyronie's surgery and grafting to remove Peyronie's plaque
Peyronie’s surgery and grafting to remove Peyronie’s plaque

Information about Peyronie’s surgery risks is confusing.  This is because many different Peyronie’s surgery techniques are used.  Each has different risks and outcomes.  In addition, there are many degrees and variations of Peyronie’s disease. Every man responds differently.  Thus, a simple and direct statement about Peyronie’s surgery risks is difficult to find.

Peyronie’s surgery attempts to correct a curved penis with the best possible outcome.  Still, all surgery has risk.  Most of the time the penis surgery works well.  Other times, it does not.  Clear facts about surgery risks and outcomes are murky because the conversation is often confused.  Often the speaker has one thing in mind, the listener something else.

Yale opinion

An article from Yale School of Medicine states, “Surgical repair of Peyronie’s disease is very successful in treating curvature.”  This is encouraging.  A reader might conclude the surgery had a great outcome with little risk.  Further down, the same article states “…almost all patients will have a shorter penis,”  “…there may be a decrease in erection quality of between 10 and 50%,” and “…a high risk of changes in sensation to the penis.”  This is not only discouraging; it is confusing.  The reason is that doctors look at outcomes and risks of Peyronie’s surgery differently than patients.

A surgeon primarily determines the success of Peyronie’s surgery based on the correction of the curved penis.  Little else counts.  If a curved penis is now straight, the surgeon will report the operation successful. Peyronie’s surgery is a success with constant pain, thick scars and penis shortening afterward, if there is no penis curvature.

Doctor’s opinion

A surgeon might say she has a “100% success rate with Peyronie’s surgery.”  It is important to know what she means.  She might be referring to something very different from what is on the mind of a patient.  The patient wants the surgery to return him to normal, as if he never had Peyronie’s disease.  Hearing a 100% success rate, the patient believes there are no Peyronie’s surgery risks with perfection guaranteed.

Further, surgeons talk about and emphasize – and patients focus on – their successes, not the failures.  A surgeon might say 60% of men have no penis pain after surgery.  Few stop to consider that the other 40% have penis pain after surgery.  Additionally, this pain might be terrible and constant, not temporary and mild as the patient might also assume.

Once penis surgery is done, and it does not go well, there is no way to truly undue it. More surgery on top of a bad surgical outcome often does not end well.  These are the risks of Peyronie’s surgery.

Four criteria for Peyronie’s surgery:

  • Severity. The most important factor. PD should seriously limit sexual function due to the severity of penile distortion or erectile dysfunction (ED).   Or, the PD should cause severe or constant pain.  Only when Peyronie’s disease is bad enough, is it worth the risks of Peyronie’s surgery.
  • Time and opportunity. At least 12-18 months after the start of Peyronie’s disease should pass for natural and spontaneous healing to occur.  Doing Peyronie’s surgery too soon does not allow adequate time to repair the PD scar.  This happens in 10-50% of cases.
  • Non-response to other therapy. During the 12-18 months waiting time, a man can use a variety of drug and natural Peyronie’s treatment options to assist healing.  PDI notes that it receives 8-10 reports of moderate to marked success with Peyronie’s disease natural treatment for every one report of failure.
  • Stability. Surgical outcomes are best for men whose condition has not improved or worsened for at least 6-12 months.

Men who do not meet these surgical standards should consider first using conservative Peyronie’s disease natural treatment. This conservative therapy supplies those nutrients used in the healing process.  Small, medium or large Peyronie’s treatment plans use will encourage healing.  Learn about Peyronie’s disease treatment philosophy.

Peyronie’s surgery overview

Usually, Peyronie’s surgery is an outpatient procedure performed under general anesthesia.  It can last up to two and a half hours. A second doctor, a plastic surgeon, assists with specialized grafting techniques to  minimize Peyronie’s surgery risks. Penis surgery is a major event to a very sensitive part of the body with a large nerve supply.  Indeed, do not expect an easy walk in the park.

Peyronie’s surgery risk

Martin K. Gelbard, MD, is a world-renown Peyronie’s disease expert.  He states, “Unfortunately, surgery does not offer a cure for Peyronie’s disease. The scarring in men with deformity severe and persistent enough to warrant an operation represents an irreversible loss of connective tissue elasticity. Though surgical restoration of sexual function can be both effective and reliable, potential candidates need to understand the compromise inherent in this approach.”  Briefly, Peyronie’s disease surgery is not a cure, it is a compromise.

Compromise means, after Peyronie’s surgery two things happen.  First, some degree of the old PD problem will remain.  Second, new problems can develop. Sometimes these compromises are small.  At other times, they are severe.  Namely, more PD scarring, reduced sensation or numbness, new bends, and more pain can occur. They happen because Peyronie’s disease is all about excess scar formation; scarring is what PD does. This happens in spite of the best skills and dedicated effort of the surgeon. Be forewarned.

After Peyronie’s surgery

As stated, the basic problem of Peyronie’s disease is over-production of scar tissue. Peyronie’s surgery does not stop the tissue’s tendency to make too much scar. That will continue. Additional scar production can worsen the original problem. Meaning, if you disturb PD with surgery you sometimes get a worse case of Peyronie’s disease.

Please remember, Peyronie’s surgery cannot restore the penis to its former normal state. Surgery shortens the penis, stimulates scar development, makes erection less effective, and cuts nerves.  All this carries the risk of less than perfect outcomes. These new complaints can make sexual intercourse less pleasurable or impossible. Frequently I communicate with men who rue the day they had Peyronie’s surgery. Be very careful before you take this step.

Every man hopes his Peyronie’s disease surgery will have a perfect outcome.  I suppose it happens somewhere.  I have not heard of it in all the emails I have read since 2002.

Before thinking about penis surgery, please consider a safer, gentler, non-invasive method that reduces PD curvature in 80% of cases when performed as instructed.  First consider trying Peyronie’s disease natural treatment for at least 3-4 months. If it is unsuccessful, then you can consider Peyronie’s surgery as the next logical step.

Final comments on Peyronie’s surgery risks

I am not a surgeon; I am a retired chiropractor and acupuncturist.  However, I spent 42 years in practice working directly with MDs.  Every day, I saw every day how they think about the practice of medicine.  Most have a respectful fear for drugs and surgery.  When they used them, they use them cautiously doing great good.

Great medical doctors are rather hesitant to use drugs and surgery.  If you find a medical doctor who seems too casual or quick to suggest drugs or surgery, be cautious.

My suggestion is first to be cautious and conservative by treating Peyronie’s disease with Alt Med therapies. Try it for at least 3-4 months to encourage your body to do a better job of repairing and removing the Peyronie’s disease.  If it works, great.  If it does not work, then try aggressive treatment like drugs and surgery, afterward, keeping in mind Peyronie’s surgery risks.