Penis traction can work

Have you ever wondered what it would take to get a longer penis? Even if you haven’t, what about all of those messages about “male enhancement products” that perpetually flood your email? Not much research has been done on whether they work - until now.

A range of options

There are numerous products and procedures, many of them peddled on the internet, that are supposed to help men increase the length of their penis, but very little legitimate scientific research about their long-term efficacy has been conducted. They include pills, penis patches, exotic ointments, vacuum pumps and exercises with fanciful names like “jelqing”, “clamping” and “hanging”. Many of them are more likely to leave you with a painful injury than a significant result.

Surgical penis lengthening typically involves cutting the so-called fundiform and suspensory ligaments that attach the penis to the pubic bone, which allows the shaft to protrude further outward and results in a longer physical appearance.

All hail the extender

A new survey by a group of Italian researchers published in the British Journal of Urology International final sheds some scientific light on this issue. They found that penis extenders or penile traction devices are more effective at increasing penis length than other methods.

For 72 men using three different types of penile extenders, the results were average flaccid length increases of 0.5 to 2.3 centimetres, with only a small number experiencing bruising, pain, itching or temporary discolouration.

While surgical procedures in 121 men produced average flaccid length increases of between 1.3 and 2.5 centimetres, the operation came with a significantly greater risk of unwanted outcomes and complications. Surgical penis lengthening has a very high dissatisfaction rate among patients and may even result in a loss of the ability to achieve an erection.

Botox injections have been shown to have only a temporary effect in increasing flaccid penis length, while there seems to be no evidence that penis exercises or repeated vacuum treatment results in a significant change in length even after extended periods.

According to co-author Paolo Gontero, Associate Professor of Urology at the University of Turin “penile extenders are an effective and durable method of penile extension […] with minimal side effects” that are much less invasive than surgery and “should be the first-line treatment for men seeking a penile lengthening procedure”.

How do extenders work?

There are many different makes of penis traction devices on the market, but they all look pretty similar and work on the same principle. They usually consist of a ring-shaped base that fits over the root of the penis and rests on the pubic bone, one or two adjustable and calibrated rods extending from the base, and a flexible band that slips over the head of the penis.


These devices allow the penis to be in traction for four to five hours per day for a period of several (usually a minimum of five to six) months. The extended periods of stretching are thought to trigger a growth response resulting in the development of millions of new tissue cells, causing an extension of penis length. Periods of stretching need to be alternated with periods of rest to allow the body to rebuild the stretched tissue. For convenience, many penis extenders are designed to be worn beneath loose clothing.

But do you really need it?

Before you decide to subject yourself to any penis enlargement procedure you should probably ask yourself if you really, really need it. Firstly, size isn’t everything, and secondly, you might find that you’re equipment isn’t as small as you think it is.

Gontero points out that “urologists are constantly approached by men who are concerned about the size of their penis despite the fact that the majority of them are normal sized”. According to him and his colleagues the “normal” or average size penis is considered to be anywhere from 4 centimetres long when flaccid and more than 7.5 centimetres long when erect.

So before you spend a lot of money on a penis extender, go in for surgery or try out one of the less reputable male enhancement options, you should consider whether perhaps you are merely lacking in confidence and not in natural endowment. You might gain much more from a boost of self-belief through some form of therapy than from any physical intervention.

(Andrew Luyt, Health24, May 2011)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
32% - 9438 votes
68% - 20011 votes