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What is a penectomy, how is it performed and are there any side effects?

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Updated November 22, 2006

Question: What is a penectomy, how is it performed and are there any side effects?
Answer: A penectomy is surgical treatment for advanced cases of penile cancer. It is the surgical removal of all, or part of the penis. As horrific as this sounds, it is common, and the most effective treatment.

When a partial penectomy is done, only the tip of the penis is removed. Sexual intercourse is still possible, and orgasm can still be achieved.

During a full penectomy, the entire penis is removed. The groin and lymph nodes may be removed, depending on the stage of the cancer.

An opening is made between the scrotum and anus for the urethra. The patient will still maintain bladder control.

There is no possibility of sexual intercourse after a full penectomy. This is often the most devastating side effect of the surgery. There are many sexual therapists who specialize in sexual health after a penectomy, who can help teach techniques to gain sexual pleasure.
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