Penectomy: Surgery (Watch video of partial penectomy)

What is a penectomy?

A penectomy is the removal of the penis to treat penile cancer.

In rare cases, a penectomy may be done to treat a severe traumatic injury to the penis. However, it is performed mostly in cases where penile cancer has grown deep in the penis.

When surgery is needed, either a partial or full penectomy is done to remove cancer and improve a man’s chances of survival.

Surgeons undertaking this operation typically want to leave as much of the penis intact as possible when they treat penile cancer.

Consequently, if it is possible, a surgeon will perform a partial penectomy to remove the end of the penis but leave some of the shaft.

Watch Video

When the cancer is located deeper in the tissue, a full penectomy may be recommended. This procedure involves removing the entire penis along with the roots, which extend into the pelvis.

A total penectomy does not affect a man’s ability to urinate but does affect how the urine comes out of the body. A new opening is created between the anus and the scrotum for the urine to drain.

Depending on how advanced the cancer is, the testicles may also be removed. Men who require testicle removal may need to take supplements of the hormone testosterone, afterward.

Also, nearby lymph nodes may be removed, to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the penis.


Typically, the outlook for penile cancer after a penectomy depends on the stage of cancer, the size of the tumor, and a man’s age.

If the penile cancer has spread to other parts of the body, a man may require additional treatments and care.

However, the outlook for men, with penile cancer that is confined to the penis, who have had a partial or full penectomy is often good.

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