A healthy, 30-year-old man in Stockholm wanted to increase both the girth and length of his genitals using a process where fat is transferred from his belly to his penis. The man was one of 8,4000 people worldwide who seek to enhance their girth every year (statistics were not available on length since they are often done at the same time, like in this case, even though many doctors recommend against it).
A description of the case in the Journal of Forensic Sciences explained that surgeons had finished the elongation portion of the surgery and were in the enlargement part, which involved injecting the patient with his own fat cells, when things went wrong. The fat leaked into his veins and traveled to his lungs, which resulted in a lung embolism, rupturing his blood vessels. The patient, who was found to have no prior heart conditions, ended up having a heart attack on the operating table. Despite attempts from doctors to perform CPR, the man died two hours later.
The conclusion of the study said, “This is the first described case where a seemingly simple and safe procedure of penis enlargement by autologous fat transfer caused sudden death in a healthy young man.” It also suggested that the surgery was riskier since it combined two procedures.
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Urologist Tobias Kohler, of the Mayo Clinic, who was not involved in this study, told BuzzFeed News that among the reasons surgeons advise against the "completely useless" surgery, is because it "never works" and because of "other horrible consequences, from disfigurement to permanent erectile dysfunction to even worse.”
A 2017 scientific review in Translational Andrology and Urology showed that "the majority of men seeking penile elongation treatment have a normal penile size, which is functionally adequate." Instead, it is suggested that most patients seeking this elective surgery suffer from body dysmorphic disorder and cannot accurately see their bodies.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health.