In Reported First, Case Study Says Penis Enlargement Killed

Patient was a 30-year-old Swedish man
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2017 12:54 PM CDT
In Reported First, Case Study Says Penis Enlargement Killed
"Fat embolism following penile girth enhancement has to our knowledge never been reported before."   (Getty Images/Ales_Utovko)

Penis enlargements can kill, or so confirms a case study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. "Autologous fat transfer" is the process by which fat is removed by liposuction and then re-injected elsewhere in the body: commonly the face, breasts, behind, or—as in the case of the 30-year-old Swedish man in question—penis. The study authors notes that while it's most often a safe procedure, complications are possible. The male was seeking both penile elongation and girth enhancement and had fat removed from his lower abdomen to facilitate this. As part of the elongation process, a ligament was loosened and then a 2-fluid-ounce injection of fat began. BuzzFeed explains that as the injection was nearly completed, things went awry.

The man's oxygen reading and blood pressure dropped, and though he was given ephedrine and epinephrine, he suffered a heart attack and couldn't be revived using CPR; death was determined to be due to pulmonary fat embolism. Fat embolism "is characterized by release of fat droplets into systemic circulation after a traumatic event," per the study. BuzzFeed puts the number of annual "penile enlargement" surgeries (specifically those related to girth) at 8,400, and the study authors write that "this is the first described case where a seemingly simple and safe procedure of penis enlargement by autologous fat transfer caused sudden death in a healthy young man." A Mayo Clinic urologist referred to the procedure with another adjective in comments to BuzzFeed: "useless." (This type of penis surgery is much more useful.)

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