THURSDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- For men who believe size matters -- and that their penises don't measure up -- success can be found in certain non-surgical penile lengthening treatments, a new study analysis by Italian researchers contends.
Concerned that patients were seeking out unproven and potentially dangerous ways of lengthening the penis, the researchers examined the medical literature to see whether popular non-surgical methods had any scientific basis.
In a review of five evidence-based surgical studies of 121 men and six non-surgical studies of 109 men published between 2000 and 2009, the researchers found that penile extenders -- which stretch the organ over a period of months through traction -- were the most effective among non-invasive methods.
But one expert cautioned that men are playing with fire if they tinker with their penis size simply for vanity's sake. Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler, a urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said functional issues resulting from conditions such as birth defects or prostate cancer surgery may warrant penile surgery, but such cases are unusual.
"It's a very fragile organ to begin with," Kavaler said, "and if you start to do all these things to it you can disfigure it... They should leave it alone."
Study co-author Dr. Paolo Gontero said urologists are constantly approached by men concerned about their penis size, despite the fact that the majority are average, with a flaccid length of 1 to 4 inches.
"However, most men complaining of inadequate penile size do have associated sexual problems even if their penile dimensions fall within the normal range -- so-called dysmorphophobic penis," said Gontero, an associate professor of urology at the University of Turin. "No study has, however, specifically addressed the extent and type of sexual bother in this patient category."
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