"It's a completely useless procedure that never works and disfigures men, and could kill you," one urologist said.
Swedish physicians are warning plastic surgeons about the first case of a man killed by penis enlargement surgery.
Like many plastic surgery procedures, penis enlargement relies on transplanting "autologous" fat cells from a body part where they are not wanted to one where they are. About 8,400 "penile enlargement" surgeries are performed worldwide every year to increase girth, according to international plastic surgery statistics. (The stats don't include the number of elongation surgeries, partly because they're sometimes done at the same time as enlargement, despite some surgeons recommending that they happen weeks apart.)
And now it's killed a man in Stockholm, Sweden.
"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," reports the Journal of Forensic Sciences case study.
The healthy 30-year-old had wanted both a penile elongation and a penile enlargement, using fat cells taken from his belly. The surgeons performed the elongation, which requires an incision to loosen a ligament at the base of the penis, and then started the enlargement, an injection of two fluid ounces of fat cells into the patient's penis.
They had almost finished the injection when the man's heart began racing, his oxygen levels dropped, and his blood pressure plunged. Within a half-hour, he had a heart attack. The plastic surgeons performed CPR and sent the man to an emergency room, but he died less than two hours later.
This is the first reported death from this kind of surgery. But it often leads to other serious problems, experts say.
"It's a completely useless procedure that never works and disfigures men, and could kill you," urologist Tobias Kohler of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not part of the study, told BuzzFeed News. "This is the worst case, but there are lots of other horrible consequences, from disfigurement to permanent erectile disfunction to even worse."
"If you end up with something that nobody recognizes as a penis," he added, "that is what we call sub-optimal."