Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 3/1/2023
For as long as men have had penises (forever), they've tried to figure out ways to make them bigger. Because why the hell not? The problem is that the penis is quite anatomically complex, and adding an extra inch or two is, well, no small feat.
Recently, the Penuma® implant — an FDA-cleared penile implant that’s designed to make you look and feel bigger — is garnering attention as a potentially safe way for men to increase their penis size.
Unlike most “penis enhancement” surgical devices on the market, the Penuma implant doesn’t promise the world, and it also appears to be backed by some fairly solid scientific principles — at least, at first glance.
Below, we’ve explained everything you need to know about the Penuma implant, from how it works to what the process of getting surgery on your penis is like.
We’ve also covered what you should expect in terms of extra length and cosmetic enhancement from the Penuma penile implant, as well as a few alternatives you may want to consider if you’re unhappy with your penis size.
Unlike some other products on the market, the Penuma implant isn’t designed to be a penile prosthesis or inflatable device for treating ED — it’s not actually intended to treat erectile dysfunction or give your penis extra functionality.
Instead, it’s a cosmetic implant used to provide extra girth, fix indentation deformities or increase the perceived size of a retractile penis (a penis that partly sits below the surface of the skin).
The soft penile implant is made from medical-grade silicone (similar to the materials used to make butt and chin implants) and is inserted subcutaneously, meaning it’s placed below your skin but above the tissue that allows your penis to function.
According to Penuma, the implant was designed by a team of “world-renowned” urologists and scientists and has been used in tens of thousands of men.
The Penuma implant essentially “wraps” around the tissue of your penis, creating extra girth that’s typically visible when flaccid or erect — like a boob job for your penis.
The implant is contoured to suit your individual penis shape, then carefully inserted beneath the skin of your penis.
By creating a small incision for the implant, there’s little to no visible scarring left behind after the surgery.
According to Penuma, men who have the surgery typically see an increase in length and girth of one to two inches, both when flaccid and erect. Many men also report that the implant increases the length of their flaccid penis.
The Penuma implant has no impact on your fertility or your ability to use your penis for non-sex activities like peeing. It’s also discreet — most men who get the procedure report that it’s undetectable to their partners.
Currently, Penuma is only available in the United States, and only a few surgeons offer this type of procedure. Penuma lists physicians in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Washington D.C., Phoenix, the Bay Area, New York, Miami and, for whatever reason, Louisiana as specializing in this type of cosmetic surgery
The Penuma implant essentially “wraps around” the internal tissue of your penis, acting similarly to a penis sleeve, but under the skin. Because of its design, it can also make your penis longer when it’s not erect.
However, the Penuma implant doesn’t actually make your erect penis longer, meaning it’s not a true genital enlargement surgery that’s going to give you any extra inches.
The major reasons for this come down to the design of the implant and the physiology of your penis. You see, your penis contains chambers of spongy tissue called the corpora cavernosa, which expand when you get an erection.
When blood flows into your penis these chambers become engorged, resulting in an erection when you’re aroused.
In most cosmetic procedures for increasing the size of a part of your body (breast implants, for example), a surgeon dissects tissue and then places a silicone implant inside this space to create extra size. The implant does all the work.
However, this process doesn’t work for adding length to your penis because the spongy tissue of your penis relies on a network of blood vessels to become engorged in the first place.
Basically, none of this tissue is useless, which means a surgeon can’t just go in there and start cutting stuff out to make room for the implant. Were that the case, you could aim for a simple cosmetic improvement but wind up disrupting your penis’ entire functionality.
Because the Penuma implant only increases girth, it’s able to fit inside your penis without any disruption to the complex erectile tissue and vasculature that’s inside your penis.
So, is penile implant surgery like Penuma worth getting if you don’t feel totally satisfied with your penis size? Ehhh… It depends.
If you’re looking for something to prop up your wilting willy and give you stronger erections, this isn’t the product for you. The Penuma implant is for visual and functional size only — it doesn’t have any real impact on your ability to get an erection or general sexual performance.
The only way this type of procedure could impact your performance (specifically, your ability to get and maintain an erection) is if you currently have a psychologically induced form of erectile dysfunction, such as sexual performance anxiety brought on by feelings of inadequacy.
In that specific case, a little extra girth may be a good confidence boost. But it’s by no means a medically recommended solution for confidence issues, and it’s definitely not the type of procedure that you should consider undergoing lightly.
But if you’re just looking for a cosmetic procedure to make your penis more of a statement piece (like a fine marble statue), then the Penuma implant might actually be kind of perfect.
As we’ve already mentioned, the Penuma implant is a new and emerging procedure. While there’re a lot of positive messages about it on the internet, research regarding its efficacy is still very much in the developmental stages.
However, the info we do have is pretty promising.
In an interesting single-surgeon study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers did find pretty positive results.
From 2009 to 2014, more than 520 patients underwent surgery with the Penuma soft silicone penile implant. Of these patients, more than 400 agreed to take part in a study to assess their results and levels of satisfaction.
The researchers found that the study participants displayed an average increase in midshaft circumference (the measurement around the middle of the penis) of 56.7 percent.
They also found that 72 percent of the men who underwent the surgery had improvements in self-esteem two to six years after the procedure, with 81 percent claiming “high” or “very high” levels of satisfaction.
While we can’t give the Penuma implant an unequivocal, indisputable stamp of erectile approval, we can conclude from this study that the majority of men who get the procedure are happy with it.
That said, the study mentioned above has some limitations — the biggest of which is that the surgeon that performed the procedures was the inventor of the device.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the results aren’t accurate, but it may play a role in some of the patients’ assessments of the Penuma implant’s effectiveness.
It’s also worth noting that not all of the patients that underwent the surgery took part in the study afterward, with more than 120 abstaining from participation.
This isn’t abnormal for a scientific study (it’s common for people to drop out of research or opt not to participate), but it may mean that the true patient satisfaction rate from this procedure can’t be accurately measured based on this study’s findings alone.
Long-term follow-up research also suggests that many men view getting the Penuma procedure as a positive decision.
Ultimately, it’s a personal decision that you’ll have to make based on your own priorities. Are you satisfied with the girth and shape of your penis, or would you consider surgery to get some extra girth and potentially correct any indentation deformities or other concerns?
According to the Penuma website, the cost of surgery with a Penuma® implant can vary based on your location and choice of healthcare provider. However, it’s normal for the Penuma implant procedure to cost “around $16,000 to $18,000” in total.
The website also notes that the precise cost of surgery can vary, as the implant is customized to match each patient’s anatomy and meet their needs.
And because it’s considered an elective surgery, it likely won’t be covered by your insurance. Surgery that’s performed solely for cosmetic reasons is rarely cheap, and the Penuma implant appears to be no exception.
Some financial lending companies may offer payment plans for penile enhancement surgery, but this is something you’ll need to discuss with your provider if you’re considering this type of procedure.
In order to get a Penuma implant, you’ll need to be 21 years of age or older. You’ll also need to meet other safety criteria, which your surgeon will discuss with you prior to approving as a candidate for the procedure:
If you aren’t circumcised, you’ll need to undergo an adult circumcision prior to having the Penuma implant inserted into your penis.
If you’ve previously had a penis enhancement procedure (for example, fat transfer, filler injections, silicone gel or a related procedure), you may not be able to undergo surgery to have the Penuma implant inserted.
In order to insert the Penuma implant, your surgeon will create a small surgical incision close to your scrotum. The implant will be inserted and the incision will be closed, creating a tiny, hidden scar.
The entire procedure is performed under general anesthesia, meaning you’ll be asleep for the procedure.
According to the Penuma website, most men are able to walk after the surgery. You can usually go home the same day as the procedure before taking part in several follow-up sessions with your surgeon to assess your recovery and Penuma results.
It’s normal for your penis to swell following the procedure, and you’ll need to abstain from sex and/or masturbation for several — typically six — weeks until your healthcare provider clears you for it.
That sounds impossible, but hey — it’s good to challenge yourself once in a while.
All surgical procedures come with some potential risks, and the Penuma implant surgery is no exception here, either. However, complications are generally uncommon and the risks of most complications from this type of procedure can be mitigated with the right pre-op and post-op care.
Potential risks and complications associated with the Penuma implant include:
Seroma (buildup of fluid inside your body)
Scar tissue development
Many of these, such as scar formation and infection, are common possible risks associated with most surgical procedures and not just penile surgery.
Research suggests that complications from the Penuma implant are mostly uncommon. Fewer than five percent of participants in studies reported seroma (the most common problem), with a smaller percentage of patients reporting other complications from surgery.
In total, less than three percent of people who underwent surgery for the Penuma implant had to have the device removed due to complications or other adverse events.
No participants in studies of the Penuma implant reported any negative changes in ejaculation, erections or general sexual function.
Right now, the Penuma implant is the only reliable option for penile augmentation without a high risk of complications or changes in your penis’ function.
Still, other options include:
Penile suspensory ligament surgery. This procedure involves surgically cutting the ligament above your penis. It can make your penis appear larger, but also causes it to hang at an unusual, downward-facing angle when it’s erect.
This type of surgery also does nothing to extend your penis skin, meaning it may cause your pubic hair to grow on the shaft of your penis rather than on your pubic region.
Fat grafting to the penis. This procedure involves removing fat from your abdomen or other areas using liposuction, then transferring the fat to your penis to increase its girth and perceived size.
Fat grafting can make your penis appear larger but, like the Penuma implant, it has no effect on your erections or penis function. This type of surgery might result in lumps of fat on your penis that give it an unusual appearance that isn’t natural looking.
Over-the-counter penis growth pills. These supplements, which are usually marketed as “male enhancement” pills, claim to increase penis size and boost your self-confidence in bed.
There’s no scientific evidence that these products work, and several have been identified as containing hidden, potentially harmful ingredients. As such, they’re best avoided.
Jelqing. This pseudoscientific do-it-yourself technique involves stretching your penis at home using your thumb and index finger. Yes, really.
The process itself is uncomfortable, and most research suggests that the results of these at-home techniques are poor.
It’s common to want an extra inch or two below the belt, fellas. Hell, who among us wouldn’t opt for an upgrade if they could?
But if your penis length is in the normal range but you feel as if you need penis enlargement surgery, it’s potentially a sign that you have penile dysmorphic disorder.
Penile dysmorphic disorder is similar to body dysmorphic disorder, but specifically focused on penis length, girth or shape. It’s a real issue for some men that can cause a variety of mental health problems, including an increased risk of certain anxiety disorders.
Experts aren’t aware of precisely what causes PDD, but it’s likely that the porn industry, which tends to select for men and women with larger-than-average appendages, may play at least a part in distorting people’s idea of what is and isn’t normal.
According to one study published in the journal BJU International, the average erect penis is 5.2 inches in length. It’s also perfectly normal for a penis to be an inch smaller or larger than this, all while still fitting comfortably within the “normal” range.
Basically, you’re fine just the way you are, bud. We promise.
And interestingly, according to the research, at least, you’re probably way more concerned about your penis size than your partner.
In a survey published in the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinity in 2018, experts found that 85 percent of women said they were satisfied with their partner’s penis size.
In the exact same survey, only 55 percent of men stated that they were satisfied with their own penis size.
Put simply, provided your penis is at least close to the normal size range, you’re probably more worried about it than she is.
If you feel like your penis isn’t big enough and think you could have penile dysmorphic disorder, it’s best to talk to a mental health provider about your concerns.
You can connect with a mental health provider in your local area or from home using our online mental health services, such as online therapy and psychiatry.
Currently, Penuma is the only silicone sleeve implant for improving your penis appearance that has been cleared by the FDA. As such, if you’re considering aesthetic surgery for your penis, it probably has a place near the top of your “to look into” list.
If you’re considering the Penuma implant, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind:
Penuma primarily increases girth, not length. Because of the way your penis functions, this type of implant can’t provide additional length. However, it will give your penis extra girth, making it look and feel larger.
This type of surgery isn’t cheap. You can expect to pay $16,000 to $18,000 for this procedure, depending on your location and choice of surgeon. You’ll also need to be circumcised (if you aren’t already), which can cost several thousand dollars extra.
You probably don’t need it. Thanks to the widespread availability of porn, it’s easy to feel worried about your penis. However, the average penis isn’t really that big, and you likely have more than enough to satisfy your partner with the right approach to sex.
A lot of the time, simple things like dealing with erectile dysfunction can go a longer way towards improving sex than a bigger member.
Before opting for surgery, make sure you’ve tried other methods to improve your sexual function and enjoy better, more satisfying sex.
You can learn more about doing this by viewing our range of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation treatments online, or by reading our full list of natural ways to improve your erections and sexual function.