What is penectomy?
Surgery to permanently remove the penis.
What does penectomy do?
- Lower body
Who can have penectomy?
You must have had 12 continuous months living as your gender identity
You must have had 12 continuous months of HRT, unless you’re unable to
You must have capacity to consent for this treatment
If you have significant medical conditions, these need to be “reasonably well-controlled”
Under 18s cannot have this but can be referred at 17
You typically need a BMI of less than 30
How long does penectomy last?
The effects are permanent and cannot be reversed.
What should I be aware of?
A penectomy completely destroys the penis. After a penectomy has been carried out, there is no penile skin available for vaginoplasty, and a vaginoplasty will require using less common techniques such as sigmoid vaginoplasty that increase risks and reduce the quality of the result.
How do I get a penectomy?
Penectomy is normally only carried out as part of creating a new set of genitals.
If you wish to have new genitals created, the vulva (external part of the female genitalia) is created by labiaplasty and clitoroplasty. These operations are often carried out together with vaginoplasty (creation of the internal canal).
You will normally need to meet the following conditions:
- persistent and well-documented gender dysphoria
- capacity to make fully informed decisions and to consent to treatment
- if significant medical or mental health concerns are present, they must be reasonably well controlled
- two medical opinions, usually at least one from a gender clinic, that surgery is appropriate
- 12 months’ continuous endocrine treatment as appropriate to the patient’s goals (unless the patient has medical contraindications or is otherwise unable to take hormones)
- at least 12 months’ living continuously in a gender role that is congruent with the gender identity 1.
NGICNS maintains a list of NHS surgery providers providing various gender-related surgeries. At the moment, all of these surgeons are based in England, so you will have to travel if you live in another part of the UK. If you have decided to pay for your own surgery, rather than using NHS funding, there are additional options available to you. For more information about these private surgery options read our private surgery page.
How do I get ready for surgery?
Doing some preparation in advance can help make sure everything goes smoothly during your hospital stay and recovery. To help you avoid forgetting to do or buy something we have created a Getting ready for gender surgeries page.
How much will it cost?
Outside of Scotland, this is usually only funded as part of vaginoplasty, clitoroplasty or labiaplasty
A operation in the UK to perform penectomy along with orchidectomy, labiaplasty and clitoroplasty costs around £15000.
If you have a formal diagnosis, the NHS will usually provide funding for penectomy and labiaplasty, orchidectomy, clitoroplasty and optionally vaginoplasty.
If you're receiving certain benefits, or are on a low income, you may be able to get help with the cost of travel for NHS treatment. Further information about help with travel costs can be found:
- on the NHS website
- on the Welsh Government website
- on the NHS Scotland website
- on the Northern Ireland government website
- 1.Royal College of Psychiatrists (2013) “Good practice guidelines for the assessment and treatment of adults with gender dysphoria.” Link
This page is illustrated using a photograph by Павел Сорокин available at Pexels.
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