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3 Common Misconceptions About Phalloplasty

an individual celebrating at a Pride event

an individual celebrating at a Pride event

What Is Phalloplasty and Metoidioplasty?

There is much discussion in the transgender and non-binary community about which bottom surgery is ideal: meta or phallo.

Phalloplasty (phallo) is the surgical construction of a penis from a graft. It's a multi-stage procedure that is common among transgender and non-binary folks but is also done on cis males in the event of trauma, cancer, or other crises that affects genitalia.

Metoidioplasty or meta is the second common choice for bottom surgery. In meta, a penis is constructed from tissue that's already there—after an individual is on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for long enough that it enlarges the clitoris. After it has been enlarged enough, a surgeon cuts the labia and the bottom ligament to free it.

There are myths associated with phalloplasty, and this article covers three of them. For a more detailed look into what it's like to have phallo, there are many Youtube channels of transgender and non-binary folks who discuss the subject further than what will be covered here.

Myth #1: You Lose All Feeling in the Genital Area After Phallo

In the video below, a man with the username Paboga explains that for a while, he lost a lot of feeling in the area—other than a burning feeling when he urinated. However, eventually, after about 8-12 months, he gained feeling back. In the video, he says that he can even feel what it's like to have penetrative sex, which is reassuring. He also implies that it feels good to him.

Myth #2: After Phalloplasty, You Can't Have Penetrative Intercourse or Ejaculate

The Youtuber that I mentioned above spends time talking about how you can have penetrative sex after phalloplasty—you can even ejaculate, although it is not semen.

Unfortunately, after phalloplasty, people aren't able to get an erection without penile implants. There are three main types.

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Different Types of Penile Implants

Non-InflatableTwo-Piece InflatablesThree-Piece Inflatables

They are malleable or non-malleable silicone-coated rods inserted into the penis to get and maintain an erection.

They have two cylinders and a reservoir that holds saltwater. They have a hydraulic pump that can move the saltwater to the cylinders causing an erection.

They are exactly the same as the two cylinders, except that they have three cyclinders


There is a valve on the pump that drains the water out of the cylinders and back into the reservoir after use.

They also have a valve on the pump.

easy to use

easy to use

easy to use

cheaper than two- or three-piece inflatables



It can be awkward to always be semi-hard, so if you are uncomfortable with this, you should look at the other options.

require practice in the beginning

require practice in the beginning


don't get as hard of an erection

most similar to a cis erection


pump can be felt more

Larger and softer pump than two piece



More reliable than the two piece



Most expensive and extensive impant



highest risk of complication



may only last three years before a replacement is needed

Myth #3: A Phalloplasty Causes an Unnatural-Looking Penis

This is another big myth. After phalloplasty, the scars heal, even if it takes a while. There is usually minimal scarring if the surgery is done by a good surgeon, and the penis is usually as natural looking as a cis one. There are also surgeries and options that can be done if the scarring is too extensive, although this is usually not the case.

Phalloplasty isn't right for everyone. It's important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Phalloplasty isn't right for everyone. It's important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Is Phallo Right for Me?

Phalloplasty isn't right for everyone.

  • It is very costly, at around $80,000, and is far more extensive than metoidioplasty.
  • There is grafting as well, so you won't just be having surgery done on one part of your body.
  • Usually, with urethra lengthening, there is a graft that is also taken from inside the mouth.
  • There are several stages to the surgery as well, so you will be going back multiple times, usually moreso than meta.

The right choice really depends on you. If you feel that you would be more comfortable having phalloplasty instead of metoidioplasty, then you should do what is best for you. Everyone is different. I advise you to do your research and make an informed decision instead of going into it blind.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Anon on July 12, 2020:

I just want to warn your readers away from Dr. Curtis Crane, who at last count has 8 medical malpractice suits against him due to phalloplasty complications and poor outcomes. No media are covering this but Google his name with the word “lawsuit” and you’ll find it easily. I have also seen some horrifying stories about Dr. Toby Meltzer. Stay safe everyone.

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