Amputation of the penis (penectomy) is an operation that removes the penis. In a partial penectomy, part of the penis is removed. In a total penectomy, the whole penis is removed.
Surgery to preserve the penis and reconstruction for larger cancers of the top of the penis, the bulbous part (the glans) will be removed. In this condition it is possible to restore normal appearance by using skin from somewhere else in the body (skin graft).
Removing the penis (penectomy) This may be advised if the cancer is large and is covering a large area of the penis. Amputation may be partial (where part of the penis is removed) or total (removal of the whole penis). The operation most suitable for you depends on the position of the cancer. If the tumour is near the base of the penis, total amputation may be the only option. This operation is now much less common, as doctors can usually preserve the penis.
Reconstructive surgery It may be possible to have a penis reconstructed after amputation (if there are no signs that the cancer has spread anywhere else in the body). This may lead to another operation. The techniques that may be used include taking skin and muscle from your arm and using this to make a new penis.
Sometimes it is also possible for surgeons to reconnect some of the nerves in order to provide sensation and the necessary blood flow to allow the reconstructed penis to become erect. You will need to stay in hospital for about five days and have the wound dressed regularly for up to a fortnight.
Partial removal of the penis involves removing just the tip or head of the penis. The surgeon aims to save as much of the shaft of the penis as possible. This assists with urination by allowing the stream of urine to be directed away from the body. It also means that men can pass urine standing up in public washrooms and so maintain previous habits and routines.