Does Penis Size Change After Prostate Surgery?

A prostatectomy (complete surgical removal of the prostate gland) can cause a decrease in penis size. This type of surgery is done to treat prostate cancer. There are many other types of prostate surgery, and most of them do not cause a change in penis size. 

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Prostatectomy May Cause a Change in Penis Size

A radical prostatectomy is an operation that's done to treat prostate cancer. During the procedure, your surgeon would remove your prostate gland and some of the surrounding tissue.  

The decrease in penis size that can occur after prostatectomy may be associated with the following factors:

  • A decrease in blood flow to the penis may cause atrophy (shrinking) of the cells in the penis
  • Structural changes in the pelvis can occur when the prostate is removed

Conditions such as benign prostatic hypertrophy or other noncancerous prostate issues are not treated with prostatectomy. Other conditions can also sometimes be treated surgically, and the specific procedure you may need would depend on the condition that's being treated.

Each procedure has risks, and you can experience a decrease in penis size with other types of prostate surgery, although this is most often associated with prostatectomy. Other complications of prostate surgery can include incontinence and/or the inability to obtain an erection. 

How Much Penis Size May Change

After recovering from a prostatectomy, some males experience a decrease in the length of the penis, changes in girth (thickness), or both. These changes can be present when the penis is erect and/or flaccid. Research is ongoing to determine whether these changes are temporary or permanent. 

Most people do not have any noticeable change in their penis size after prostatectomy. One study showed that almost one in five males had at least a 15% decrease in one or more penis measurements after prostatectomy surgery, with at least a partial improvement over the following 12 months. 

If you are having prostate surgery, it is important to know that the surgical methods used for the prostatectomy had no bearing on the change in penis size in this research. Additionally, nerve-sparing surgeries had the same results in terms of penis size as other procedures.

Risk of a Change in Penis Size Versus Risk of No Surgery

While any decrease in penis size can be alarming, a prostatectomy is done as a life-saving surgery. Prostate cancer can be fatal and treatment substantially lowers the risk of death. Many people who are treated for prostate cancer go on to live for many years.

Talk to your surgeon and your oncologist about your individual risk of serious and minor complications, as well your expected chance of a cure and your estimated lifespan after the procedure, Your doctors will also tell you what to expect in the weeks, months, and years following your surgery. 

A Word From Verywell

If you have concerns about the size of your penis or erectile dysfunction after your prostate surgery, you can discuss treatment options with your doctor. These may include a penile prosthesis or erection-inducing medication (phosophodiesterase 5 inhibitors such as tadalafil or sildenafil).

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kadono Y, Machioka K, Nakashima K, et al. Changes in penile length after radical prostatectomy: investigation of the underlying anatomical mechanism. BJU Int. 2017;120(2):293-299. doi:10.1111/bju.13777

  2. Haglind E, Carlsson S, Stranne J, et al. Urinary Incontinence and Erectile Dysfunction After Robotic Versus Open Radical Prostatectomy: A Prospective, Controlled, Nonrandomised Trial. Eur Urol. 2015;68(2):216-25. doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2015.02.029

  3. Savoie M, Kim SS, Soloway MS. A prospective study measuring penile length in men treated with radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer. J Urol. 2003;169(4):1462-4. doi:10.1097/01.ju.0000053720.93303.33

  4. Survival Rates for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Jan 9, 2020.

Additional Reading
  • Reduced Penile Size and Treatment Regret in Men With Recurrent Prostate Cancer After Surgery, Radiotherapy Plus Androgen Deprivation, or Radiotherapy Alone. The Journal of Urology. January 2013.​

  • A Prospective Study Measuring Penile Length In Men Treated With Radical Prostatectomy For Prostate Cancer.  The Journal of Urology. April 2003.

By Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FN
Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FNP-C, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. She has experience in primary care and hospital medicine.