Penectomy (Total-Partial)

Scientific Editor: Editorial Board ISUD website

What is Penectomy?

Penectomy is the surgical procedure to remove penis in case of penile cancer. Depending on the stage of the disease, there is need for total or partial penectomy.

In partial penectomy, the surgeon usually removes the glans (head of the penis), often together with some part of the penile shaft (main body of the penis). An effort is made to preserve as much penile shaft as possible so that the patient is able to urinate in an upright standing position and, in some cases, have sexual contact.

Total penectomy is performed in more extensive tumors. The entire penile shaft is removed, and the urethra is connected to a new opening in the perineum (perineal urehtrostomy) so that the patient is able to urinate in a sitting position.

When is Penectomy performed?

Penectomy is indicated in patients whose disease stage does not allow conservative treatments to preserve the penis (e.g. Laser, radiotherapy).                                  

What sort of preparation is required?

Upon hospital admission, preoperative preparation includes blood tests, chest X-ray and ECG (electrocardiogram). In case you are on anticoagulant therapy, it may be required to interrupt your anticoagulant therapy a few days before the operation. You should always consult your Cardiologist, for there may be need to replace anticoagulants with injections in the abdominal region.

How is the procedure performed?

Penectomy is performed under general or intrathecal anaesthesia. Initially, the patient is placed in the supine position and the genital region is cleansed. A urocatheter is placed postoperatively. The average length of hospital stay is 5 days. The catheter is usually removed one week after surgery.

What about after the procedure?

You may feel pain in the operated region during the first postoperative days, which is treated with analgesics.

Upon hospital discharge, you will receive specific written instructions about:

  • what antibiotic regimen to receive
  • how long to keep the urocatheter before removing it

You should abstain from any kind of physical exercise and intense physical activity for about 2 weeks.

You should consult your Cardiologist about when to restart your anticoagulant therapy.

What is the effect of Penectomy on patient’s quality of life?

If having undergone total penectomy, you will be informed by your physician upon how to urinate (in the sitting position) once the urocatheter is removed. A rare complication that may occur is inflammation of the surgical wound, which is treated with the appropriate pharmacotherapy. Depending on the biopsy result, you will be instructed upon what follow-up is essential and whether you should undergo any adjuvant therapy.