Penile Cancer Surgery

At the Henry Ford Cancer Institute, our experts have experience treating complex cases. If you have a penile cancer diagnosis, you can trust our experts to protect your health and your quality of life.

We understand penile cancer surgery is a tough choice. But we have the skill and technology to help you through this treatment.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167 or request an appointment online.

Innovative techniques for penile cancer surgery

Surgery usually provides the main treatment for penile cancer, since the disease is often growing by the time it’s diagnosed.

At Henry Ford, you’re treated by leading national experts in cancer surgery and robotic-assisted surgery using minimally invasive approaches. These techniques use smaller incisions, to spare sensitive nerves and protect sexual function. They also preserve appearance and speed recovery.

Learn about what to expect from penile cancer treatment.

Penile cancer surgeries

Finding penile cancer early can provide more surgical options for your treatment. Your cancer team will determine which surgery to recommend for your particular needs.

Possible surgeries include:

  • Circumcision: For early-stage penile cancer, you may have a circumcision if you have not had one. Circumcision can essentially cure early-stage penile cancer.
  • Simple excision: We remove the tumor and some of the surrounding healthy skin before sewing the wound closed.
  • Wide local excision: We remove the tumor and normal tissue around it. A wide local excision ensures we get all the cancer. We may use skin from other parts of the body to cover the wound.
  • Mohs surgery: We remove a thin layer of skin for early-stage cancer. We then examine it under a microscope. We repeat the process until we don’t see any remaining signs of cancer. This approach removes the least amount of skin, to maintain existing appearance and sexual function.
  • Glansectomy: We may remove part of or all the glans (head of the penis), when it has a small tumor. We can use skin from other parts of the body to rebuild the area.
  • Partial or total penectomy: We remove all or part of the penis when cancer has spread deep inside. We may perform additional surgery to help you urinate.

Surgery for advanced penile cancer

Once penile cancer grows, it can affect lymph nodes. Your doctor may need to check the lymph nodes in your groin and other areas to see if they have cancer.

Your cancer specialist will do a procedure to check for, and possibly remove, cancerous lymph nodes. These procedures include:

  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB): Your cancer specialist uses SNLB to find cancer cells in lymph nodes. The procedure is minimally invasive.
  • Inguinal lymphadenectomy: Your cancer specialist uses this procedure when the lymph nodes in your groin are large enough to feel. If you have a swollen lymph node because of cancer, your specialist will make an incision in the groin. The specialist then takes out the swollen lymph node. However, instead of using a traditional open approach for this removal, our cancer surgeons perform the procedure with the help of a surgical robot. Doing so leads to smaller incisions. The precision achieved with the robot also helps us work around delicate nerves and vessels, reducing complications and hospital stay.
  • Pelvic lymph node surgery: When you have cancer in two or more lymph nodes in the groin, you will likely need pelvic lymph node surgery. Your surgeon may check other pelvic lymph nodes when removing those in the groin.

Reconstructive surgery options

After cancer surgery, you may be concerned about how your penis looks. If you’re interested, we can talk to you about reconstructive surgery options.

Reconstructive penis surgery can include skin grafts, which take a piece of skin from another part of the body. For partial or total penectomies, you’ll need more extensive tissue grafting procedures, after which you can choose a penile prosthetic to maintain your sexual function.

Talk to your surgical team about your concerns and options.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.

Schedule Appointment Online

Please call 911 if you have an emergency or urgent medical question.

Already a Henry Ford patient?
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