According to several different penis enlargement companies, and an unsourced claim on Wikipedia, men have been trying to enlarge their penis for over 2,000 years. Over the years, many different techniques have been tried. For the purposes of this question, lets only consider mechanical techniques. There are also several non-FDA approved supplements for penis enlargement that are the subject of another question.

The earliest method used seems to be hanging: where a rope is tied around the glans penis (commonly referred to as the "head" of the penis) and attached to a weight. The weight is then raised for several seconds in the same manner a Kegel exercise is performed. Clamping is where a string or cock ring is used to constrict the base of the penis and then the individual masturbates for a period of time. Jelquing involves wrapping fingers around the penis while somewhat erect, and pulling it away to force blood into it. Many tools are sold to assist with this method. Stretching utilizes some sort of device to forcibly extend the penis, with the hope that it will stay at that length or girth or somewhere in between that and the original size. Finally, penis pumps are devices that that create suction around the penis, drawing blood into it.

Somewhat related are surgical techniques. To grow the penis in girth, material is injected to it. Artificial materials like silicone can be used, or biologic materials like fat or treated cadaver flesh. To grow it in length, ligaments at the base of the penis are released, allowing the portion of the penis that is generally within the body to extend further outward. Sometimes, inflatable implants are also used.

Are any of these methods effective? Furthermore, is there any significant risk that should be taken into account?

  • This question was the result of a Meta discussion about breadth in Skeptics questions.
    – Patches
    Mar 31, 2011 at 22:19
  • It's worth pointing out that all these methods are focused on enlarging the erect penis. Many surgical techniques focus on the flaccid penis, because that is where most of the medical issues exist (e.g. not being able to pee standing up). Jul 20, 2018 at 10:43

1 Answer 1


You can enlarge your penis through surgical means where by the transplant skin or fat onto your penis, so not only is it possible to enhance your penis size but it's actually happening all the time. In Augmentative Phalloplasty (if you don't like to look at penises, don't click the link) published in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery the procedure is outlined:

The authors have performed augentative phalloplasty on 88 patients since 1996. They have transplanted 40 to 68 ml of pure fat. Of the 88 patients, 57 underwent autologous fat transfer only, and 31 received additional ligament release. Penis length increased 1.5 to 4.8 cm (average, 2.42 cm), and circumference increased 1.4 to 4.0 cm (average, 2.65 cm). The initial penis lengths were 6.5 to 10.0 cm (average, 8.72 cm), and the circumference were 8.0 to 10.1 cm (average, 9.18 cm) not erected. This article details a simple operative procedure to enlarge the penis and simple postoperative bandages. Patients are advised to obstain from sexual activity for 5 weeks after the surgery. Two patients who disregarded this advice had an unsatisfactory result. In one patient too, much of the grafted fat had to be removed from the preputium. No other serious complications were observed.

In Non-invasive methods of penile lengthening: fact or fiction? which references the previous mentioned paper it notes that the effectiveness of non-surgical methods while often being a pile of hogwash can (given the right device) be just as effective as surgery:

Penile size is a matter of great interest among men who are affected by ‘short penis syndrome’ or just believe themselves to have a small penis, even though the dimensions of the organ fall within the normal range. Surgical procedures of ‘lengthening phalloplasty’ lack standardized indications and carry a high risk of complications. Several non-invasive methods of penile lengthening have been described, such as vacuum devices, penile traction devices and penoscrotal rings; even ‘physical exercises’ have been popularized through the media. Most of these techniques, however, are not supported by any scientific evidence. We briefly analyse the efficacy and scientific background of such non-surgical methods of penile lengthening. It seems that penile extenders represent the only evidence-based technique of penile elongation. Results achieved do not seem to be inferior to surgery, making these traction devices an ideal first-line treatment option for patients seeking a penile lengthening procedure.

I've actually researched this issue 2 years ago and back then I found one study that was evaluating a penile extender in a paper titled A pilot phase-II prospective study to test the ‘efficacy’ and tolerability of a penile-extender device in the treatment of ‘short penis outlines the procedure as follows:

Patients were instructed in the use of the penile extender, the Andro-Penis® (Andromedical, Madrid, Spain), a device designed to exert a continuous and gradually increasing traction force on the penis. The device consists of a plastic ring, where the penis is introduced, with two dynamic metallic rods which produce the traction. In the superior part there is a plastic support where a silicone band holds the glans in place. Detailed instructions on how to increase the traction force from 600 g during the first month, 900 g during the second, up to 1200 g during the fifth and sixth months, were provided, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

The patients were instructed to use the device for 4-6 hours a day:

Patients were requested to wear the device preferably for 6 h (and at least 4 h) daily, and for an optimum duration of 6 months, according to the manufacturer’s suggestions.

And the results are were positive:

After 6 months the mean gain in length was significant, meeting the goals of the effect size, at 2.3 and 1.7 cm for the flaccid and stretched penis, respectively. No significant changes in penile girth were detected. The EF domain scores improved significantly at the end of study. Treatment satisfaction scores were consistent with acceptable to good improvement in all items, except for penile girth, where the score was either ‘no change’ or ‘mild improvement’.

It's worth noting that one patient quit because of pain issues:

Four patients discontinued treatment, three at 3 months (one for achieving satisfactory results, one for lack of efficacy and one for inability to comply with the protocol), and one at 1 month for side-effects (pain and penile bruising). One patient did not attend the visit after 6 months and was lost to follow up.

Now since I'm looking at this issue again I decided to have a look at the papers citing the above mentioned paper (since it was from 2009). In one paper published in The Journal of Sexual medicine titled Revision of Penile Prosthesis Surgery after Use of Penile Traction Therapy to Increase Erect Penile Length: Case Report and Review of the Literature they had a case where the patient had previous work done on his penis but wasn't able to maintain an erection while inside of his partner. The study concludes:

This case suggests that the use of a penile traction device increases penile corporal length, and thus the length of a penile prosthesis that can be implanted in a patient with an unsatisfactory prosthesis already in place. Importantly, this patient experienced a substantial improvement in erect penile length after surgery. It is unknown whether these results are generalizable, either to all patients with a previously placed prosthesis or pre-prosthesis patients, representing an opportunity for further investigation.

Another study similar to the first one used a different product much more aggressively:

After measuring the penile length in flaccid and stretched forms and penile circumference, patients were instructed to wear Golden Erect®, 4–6 hours per day during the first 2 weeks and then 9 hours per day until the end of the third month. The subjects were also trained how to increase the force of the device during determined intervals.

Their results are substantially different from the first one, and I'm a bit weary of accepting them but I'm not a doctor so it's difficult for me to point out any flaws:

Twenty-three cases with a mean age of 26.5 ± 8.1 years entered the study. The mean flaccid penile length increased from 8.8 ± 1.2 cm to 10.1 ± 1.2 cm and 10.5 ± 1.2 cm, respectively, in the first and third months of follow-up, which was statistically significant (P < 0.05). Mean stretched penile length also significantly increased from 11.5 ± 1.0 cm to, respectively, 12.4 ± 1.3 cm and 13.2 ± 1.4 cm during the first and second follow-up (P < 0.05). No significant difference was found regarding proximal penile girth. However, it was not the same regarding the circumference of the glans penis (9.3 ± 0.86 cm vs. 8.8 ± 0.66 cm, P < 0.05).

There seem to be clear indications that both surgery and other devices work, but you need to pick the right one. So the answer is yes. Where work means that the product can make your penis longer and thicker, depending on which route your go down.

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