Scrotoplasty is a surgical procedure carried out to create or repair a scrotum.
Carried out for a number of reasons, on a variety of differently aged patients, scrotoplasty can be considered medically necessary or cosmetic, depending on the needs of the patient.
As the procedure for the surgery changes depending on the reason the surgery is needed, it can be hard to generalize the steps of the procedure.
In this case, it is easier to consider why patients might need scrotoplasty, what the recovery period is like, and what has instigated the rise in cosmetic scrotoplasty.
Who might need scrotoplasty?
Unlike a lot of other surgeries, scrotoplasty can be both medically essential or cosmetic.
Common reasons for surgery include removing excess scrotal skin, reconstructing the scrotum due to scrotal skin loss, or creating a new scrotum.
Medically necessary scrotoplasty
Baby boys, children, and even adults can be diagnosed with a condition called buried penis.
Patients with this condition have an average-sized penis, that is hidden, or buried, within the pubic or scrotal region.
Those with this condition may have trouble urinating, may be prone to infection, and as they get older, can have poor self-esteem.
Therefore, removing excess scrotal skin can help the penis appear to stand further from the body, helping patients to urinate more easily. This helps has the added benefits of removing an increased risk of infections, and helping them to feel more confident in themselves.
Trauma or other medical conditions
If seriously injured or after experiencing medical conditions, such as skin cancers or types of gangrene, including Fournier gangrene, patients may need reconstructive surgery to restore the function of the scrotum after parts are removed.
This can restore scrotal function and help patients feel more complete and confident within their own bodies,
Cosmetic scrotoplasty generally involves reversing scrotal sagging which can be a result of the natural aging process.
For those experiencing sagging, it can also be uncomfortable and mean that people avoid physical activity and some clothes, limiting their life unnecessarily.
This excess of the scrotum may also impact a patient’s self-esteem and therefore their mental health and well-being.
As such, scrotoplasty is a relatively simple way to remove these barriers and vastly improve the health and lives of many men across the UK.
How long is the recovery period after scrotoplasty?
Scrotoplasty is a relatively simple, quick procedure of about 1-2 hours, that is performed by urologists under a general anesthetic.
During your time in the hospital, you may need to utilize support garments, such as a jockstrap, to minimize movement, which will be painful at first. You may also need a catheter, which will help you to urinate while your genitals heal.
However, every patient and surgery is different, so it is best to ask your urologist if you are concerned about catheterization.
You are likely to experience swelling and bruising for about a week. Using ice, painkillers, and resting can help with discomfort and swelling at this time.
Throughout your recovery, you will need to avoid strenuous or sexual activity, for around 6-8 weeks, and the final results will be noticeable in around 8-12 weeks after your procedure.
Why are men getting cosmetic scrotoplasty?
The number of men undergoing scrotoplasty procedures in the UK is unclear, most likely because of the intimate nature of the surgery.
Similarly, the reasons men are considering cosmetic scrotoplasty make it unlikely that they would come forward.
Gerard Lambe, a consultant plastic surgeon in Cheshire and spokesperson for the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), told the Mail Online that the typical age for patients undergoing purely cosmetic scrotoplasty is gentlemen over 50, who want to ‘keep themselves looking and feeling good for as long as possible.’
This raises important questions about the impact of genital shaming and body confidence.
Genital shaming and reduced body confidence
As Sarah Bonell, a body image researcher from the University of Melbourne explains it:
‘the cosmetic surgery industry has realized that they can capitalize on men’s insecurities the same way they do women’s.’
While originally used to treat men for or recovering from medically necessary conditions, the rise in male aesthetic surgeries, including cosmetic genital surgeries, has increased, with men now accounting for 8% of all cosmetic procedures, according to 2020 statistics.
Doctors Gary Alter, M.D., Christopher Salgado, M.D., and Harvey Chim, M.D., explored the increases in male patients and the reasons for it, in their 2011 paper entitled Aesthetic Surgery of the Male Genitalia.
In it, the doctors outline the link between the appearance of the genitalia to self-esteem and sexual identity, which can be worsened by increased exposure to popular media and pornography which develop misconceptions about the appearance of genitals.
This causes men to present for aesthetic genital surgery despite, as the doctors found, the genitals appearing ‘normal in size and shape,’ and functioning normally.
This negative impact on self-esteem and sexual identity can go on to affect other areas, including:
- Sexual prowess
- Dating and sexual activity
- Psychological well-being
- Faulty thinking around the appearance and size of human genitalia
Find specialist registered urologists for your scrotoplasty
Whether medically necessary or cosmetic, scrotoplasty can change lives for many men, helping them to be happier and healthier.
Whichever scrotoplasty provider you choose for your scrotoplasty surgery, should provide you with the best possible care. To make sure you find the best provider, ensure:
- You have researched the surgeon and the hospital well, including reading reviews and comments from past patients.
- Your surgeon is a General Medical Council (GMC) registered urologist.
- Surgery is performed in Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered hospital.
- Your urologist clearly explains all risks and aftercare, including pain expectations and management options
These professionals will be happy to answer any and every question you may have and support you on your journey to full- health.
To undergo any surgery on your body is an ordeal so it’s imperative that you take care and liaise with medical professionals prior to agreeing, or booking, any surgical procedures.