Does size matter?
Can a man get bigger and could he do it via stem cells?
Today’s post is the 2nd in a series on stem cells being sold allegedly for a better sex life. You can read the first post here.
An increasing number of men around the world are paying a lot of money for stem cell “enhancement” procedures. Such a procedure could put their health in danger as they strive to be bigger in that area. Men are also more often writing in to this blog asking about this topic, weighing risks to potential benefits.
For example, this message I received from a guy that I’ll call Ted, who said I could post it if I changed his name, tells the story pretty clearly:
“This is embarrassing. I’m having increasing issues with my wife about sex. She’s not a bad person, but she wishes I had a bigger package and could last longer. Can a guy get a bigger penis using stem cells? I’ve seen some ads on the web about this, but it is thousands of dollars and I don’t like the idea of someone injecting me there. Sorry for asking. I feel like an idiot.”
Apparently, at least argued in one recent report, for some women penis size does matter. Another study reported data on the average penis size amongst something like 15,000 men who were measured and the authors suggested guidelines for size related to people who might be candidates for augmentation. See graphs below from the paper indicating correlations between different methods of measurement.
For those men who might feel like their size is not where they’d like on those graphs in the paper, one might ask: Can a man get a bigger penis via stem cells?
From Beverly Hills to Bangkok for-profit clinics say an emphatic, “yes!”
Bigger penis. Bigger erection. Better sex life. All through stem cells. And stem cell sex-related “treatments” for women too. If you have the cash to pay us.
Would this kind of stuff really work?
If you’ve got the necessary bank account to pay for it and can overcome the scary idea of injections or other procedures on your genitals, you could try it, but there are very serious potential risks and little published data to support doing something rather extreme like this. It would well make things worse instead of better. Such risks could include complete loss of sexual function, nerve damage, infection, and more.
From a broader perspective, stem cells are being sold to allegedly grow or improve all kinds of body parts including not only penises, but also breasts whether surgically or via that odd electric stem cell bra. Stem cells are also being sold to “rejuvenate” vaginas in women. What the heck?
It is important to distinguish these kinds of cosmetic procedures from breast or other tissue reconstruction after cancer surgery and also efforts to regrow penises damaged, for example, by battlefield injuries to male soldiers.
As I said, I’ve gotten a significant number of emails and comments on the blog from men like Ted who are seriously contemplating getting a “stem cell” enhancement and from women looking to deal with sexual dysfunction. It’s no April Fools Day joke to them. Some of the men want to be bigger and some have erectile dysfunction.
Who is selling this stuff?
There are many places, but I’m going to give two examples that are certainly not endorsements or specific criticisms. To be clear again, I discourage people generally from going this route because of serious safety concerns with such procedures.
The Stem Cell Rejuvenation Center makes a claim of selling better sex for $1,500 and up a pop via stem cells by procedures they call O-Shot for Women and Male-Shot. How stem cells could achieve their claims (listed below in red) is not clear to me and any kind of procedure is going to have risks:
- “For women, the O-Shot™ offers:
- Improve your marriage
- Improve your sex life
- Improve your relationship
- Improve climax/orgasm
- Better sex after menopause
- Better sex after childbirth
- Finally, something for women!! This is very exciting!!
- For Men, The Male-Shot offers:
- Bigger erections
- Improve your sex life
- Improve climax/orgasm
- Increased sensitivity
- Increased libido”
I didn’t see any data on this to support these claims.
Another place called the Barron Centers in Beverly Hills offers stem cell-based phalloplasty.
On the Barron website they describe in great detail how the attempts to use fat or stem cells to get bigger penises has evolved over the years to get to today’s technology (emphasis mine):
“Fat is removed and placed in the penis the same as before, but it is processed in a way that separates stem cells from the rest of the fat, which are then injected into the fat in a very high concentration. A new blood supply is established rapidly which allows for a much better result. There is a small amount of reabsorption, but nothing compared to what we used to experience. There will be an increase in circumference of 30-40% either way.”
See the cartoon image from their website that shows a schematic of a cross-section of the claimed bigger penis.
The doctor behind the Barron Centers is Dr. Rodney Barron. The idea seems to be to use fat tissue to increase size and stem cells to “grow” more tissue as well as stimulate increased vasculature.
It is important to note that the laboratory process of the material that they describe seems to me to be production of a specific stem cell-enhanced adipose product called SVF or stromal vascular fraction (more on that here). This is notable because the FDA to date has generally written about SVF as a drug requiring pre-approval and licensing.
The bottom line overall when it comes to stem cells for penile enlargement or even for a better sex life more generally is that it seems like an extreme way to go without clear data supporting efficacy and safety. There are likely to be some serious medical risks involved.
Note: This blog post is not medical advice and I’ll say again that I discourage people from getting these kinds of treatments due to the risks and many unknowns.