How do you feel about phalloplasty?
Edit, April of 2015 - This was posted in July of 2014. There have since been new advancements in the realm of 3D printing penises but they did not exist at the time of this post. Estimates for when this 3D printing can be utilized for trans men do not exist currently as human trials in cis men are not even ready. Human trials for cis men are scheduled to occur in 4-5 years. Current estimates from the team in charge of this research, as well as prominent surgeons performing bottom surgery, say that this research won’t be available for trans men for another 15-20 years. [End of update]
I have very positive feelings about the outcome of the operations. I’ve done about as much research as a person can possibly do right now on phalloplasty, so I can answer most questions people have about it. I spend a good amount of my time clearing up misconceptions about phalloplasty, such as the very false idea that a person loses all sensation or won’t be able to orgasm afterwards (the reality being that nearly everyone reports satisfactory sexual sensation) . There’s a lot of extremely inaccurate information out there that continues to be spread every day and it’s dissuading people from having phallo done even though they want it. The reality right now is that phalloplasty results in a penis that is of average length, that is “passable” as a cis males penis, that one can use to urinate standing up and can use for sex, that retains tactile and erotic sensation from base to tip. To spare a lot of *’s, all of that also depends on the surgeon, surgeons technique, what operations the person opted for, and how the person heals, so keep in mind that there is variation. For instance a person might not have urethral lengthening done, so they’ll still sit down to pee.
As of right now there is also an immense amount of research going into phalloplasty itself as well as various other procedures that, combined, has a large potential to result in us being able to have phalloplasty done without the need for skin grafts or erectile devices some time within the next, say, 10 years. For instance it’s estimated that in 7 years using a 3D printer and stem cells to ‘print’ skin grafts will be commonplace, which gets rid of the need for donor sites; There is research into producing urethras from stem cells, also getting rid of the need for a donor site and further minimizing the complications of phalloplasty (which at this time almost all complications are related to urethral issues); There is research into creating large scale erectile tissue, which would take away the need for an erectile device and would allow us to achieve natural erections.
When research into all of this is completed and is able to be brought together the end result is a phalloplasty that has minimal scarring, can become erect on it’s own, and has a vastly reduced risk of urethral issues that might require further operations to fix. This doesn’t mean it’s a matter of sewing a fully developed penis onto a person, don’t get me wrong. I’m optimistic but I’m not unrealistic. There is still the matter of ensuring proper blood flow, of harvesting a nerve to attach to the nerves already present in your genitals so that it can grow and you have full sensation, of ensuring there is no necrosis of tissue while healing, and various other details, but it’s still a vast improvement in terms of how intensive the operations are right now. You’d most likely still need to have glansplasty done (to sculpt the head of the penis) and you’d need to have your testicular implants put in, but that’s this would be a large improvement.
I realize I may have gone a little off tangent here. Long story short, I believe that phalloplasty is a necessary procedure for me to live my life fully and as such I’ve done everything I can to be fully informed on what results are like now and where the surgical operations are headed in the future. I believe that where results are now is incredible and I believe that improved surgical techniques are not far away.