“Penis enlargements are now in seventh place among aesthetic surgery procedures for men,” said Sven von Saldern, the president of the German Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. “That surprised even us.”
Yet he was at pains to emphasis that the operation increases size but does not necessarily improve function. “It is a purely aesthetic procedure,” he said.
The most popular procedure for men remains liposuction, he said, referring to a survey of 1,100 plastic surgery patients.
Although genital operations have not yet reached the top ten among German women, demand has been increasing among them too, von Saldern said.
“It must have something to do with the trend toward intimate shaving,” he said, although he said that in contrast to the men, women often opt for surgery to correct functional problems rather than for aesthetic reasons.
“For men, there is only the desire for more volume,” he said. “It's an especially sensitive subject because high expectations may not always be fulfilled.”
Botox injections to remove wrinkles remain popular among both sexes, and while men have a particular interest in liposuction to make them thinner, women are also still plumping for breast enlargement operations.
But though cosmetic procedures can make people feel more confident, they also carry risks.
Penis enlargement surgeries – which may involve the injection of silicone into the penis and scrotum or the cutting of ligaments – can result in impotence and nerve damage.
Vaginoplasty, in which a women's vaginal region is reconstructed, carries risks of bleeding, infection and scarring.
Reliable numbers on the number of cosmetic surgeries done each year in Germany are not available and von Saldern said the number of patients fluctuates from year to year.