By Leah Bitsky
This patient didn’t get the happy ending he was looking for.
A Swedish man was undergoing a phalloplasty, or penile elongation and girth enhancement procedure, when things went south, doctors revealed.
The 30-year-old, who had no prior medical history besides mild asthma, went into cardiac arrest towards the end of the surgery, the Journal of Forensic Sciences reports. Doctors tried to resurrect the patient while he was rushed to an emergency hospital but were unsuccessful and he died shortly after.
An autopsy revealed that while his heart was slightly enlarged, his health was otherwise normal and the cause of death was attributed to a pulmonary fat embolism.
The standard penile procedure is performed by taking fat cells from other parts of the body using liposuction and injecting them into the penis, according to the journal. In this patient’s case, fat was removed from his abdomen.
While penis enhancement surgery is quite common, researchers warned that there are always risks, referring specifically to several cases where patients have died from gluteal lipoinjection, where fat is transferred to a person’s buttock.
“This is the first described case where a seemingly simple and safe procedure of a penis enlargement by autologous fat transfer caused sudden death in a healthy young man,” the journal states. “Perhaps the risk of fat embolisation is higher when pretraumatized tissue is subjected to fat injection, like in this case, where a penis elongation by loosening of a penile ligament was performed before the fat injection.”
Approximately 8,400 penis enlargement surgeries are performed each year worldwide despite its risks, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
A study conducted by condom brand SKYN reveals that the average penis size is 6.1 inches when erect.