Penis length is one of the top concerns for many trans guys who are considering Phalloplasty, but it’s a factor that can be difficult to predict because of a number of technical variables, such as the layout of the blood supply in the donor site.

I never intended to get an erectile implant because the risk/reward just doesn’t add up for me, and I always wanted a flaccid penis length. ALT penises are usually larger than RFF penises and I was worried that I would wind up with a length and girth that wouldn’t look natural on my frame. In terms of a locker room setting, I’m interested in blending in, not standing out because of a big dick.

When I woke up from surgery, I was thrilled to see that my length clocked in at approximately 3.75″. By a month later, that had stretched out to 5.5″. That’s perfectly fine for many, but not for me. I didn’t like the aesthetics of that length. I remember feeling like it looked silly, fake, and more like a dildo than a penis. And at that length, it didn’t have a proper “hang”. It just hung straight down instead of having some projection. It also got in the way of doing some activities, like push-ups.

Thankfully, my girth was fine and wouldn’t require any debulking by liposuction. Insurance-wise, this was a blessing because had I required debulking, I would have had to see the surgeon in Vancouver for this, delaying my stage 2 with Dr. Berli in Portland and quite possibly derailing all of my remaining out-of-country funding because of the opening of the Gender Surgery Program in Vancouver. (As it turned out, I was the only person in BC to get funding to have Phalloplasty at OHSU and for many reasons I am so grateful that I was able to have my surgeries there!)

Despite being disappointed with my longer-than-hoped-for length, I had no inkling that a length reduction was in my future. My stage 2 would include vaginectomy, closure of the canal, pelvic floor restoration, urethroplasty, scrotoplasty, perineoplasty, and burying of the clitoris. I didn’t want to dick with the mix by injecting another procedure into that plan, and I likely wouldn’t have been able to secure funding for it anyway. But fate intervened.

After my stage 2 surgery, I developed a fistula on underside of my penis, about 1″ from the tip, caused by an ingrown hair and its excision. I did everything I could to get that fistula to close and I could see it getting smaller and smaller every day but at one point it just plateaued and that last 1-2mm just wouldn’t close.

My stage 3 was quickly approaching but fixing the fistula during that surgery wasn’t going to be possible because there wasn’t a urologist available on short notice or the required OR time, and my insurance wouldn’t pay for it to be repaired at OHSU anyway. Plus, with a urological repair, I would have had to have a catheter again for at least a month and while I didn’t have any difficulties from having the catheter after stage 2, I definitely wasn’t keen on going back on the bag.

What a pickle!

I was sitting on the deck with my wife enjoying some sunshine when a light bulb went off in my head. What if we cut an inch off my penis?! That would get rid of the fistula and also give me a shorter penis length. Plus, my glansplasty that was done in stage 2 had failed so I wasn’t losing anything there. My wife said, “Go email Dr. Berli now!”

Dr. Berli was hesitant, saying that a length reduction would negatively affect the length:girth ratio, and he hadn’t done a length reduction before, but he also said that the procedure could be done in the clinic OR. Now, the clinic OR doesn’t have anesthesia so I would be awake for the procedure, but I would only have to pay a fee of $275.

The decision of whether or not to proceed with the length reduction was mine alone to make and I felt the weight of that. I tried to find examples of someone who’d had a length reduction but only came up with one on TransBucket. I photoshopped photos of my penis in an effort to visualize what a shorter length would look like. I felt pretty alone in my decision. Most people made dick jokes when I tried to talk with them about it. I put a lot of thought into it and gave myself the option of canceling up until the last minute. After all, there would be no going back! And… I decided to go for it!

I had the length reduction done 8 days after having my testicular implants put in. I took a big lick of Rick Simpson Oil before leaving for the clinic. I was taken to the OR and they put on my favorite music. Dr. Berli and Dr. Danker then performed the procedure. They injected lidocaine into my penis to numb it but I admit that I could feel the scalpel slicing in, though it wasn’t too bad. Being awake for the procedure and watching them work was interesting. It took about 80 minutes. As soon as I saw the results I felt confident that I had made the right decision. They did a great job!

“In The Cloud” after stage 1.

Recovery was straightforward: I put silver sulfadiazine cream on the incision and wrapped the wound with Xeroform and gauze for a couple of weeks. For the first few days, I was “in the Cloud” (see photo) to reduce swelling, and then I went to just being “in the Cloud” at night for a week or so. Back at home, I had to remove 25 sutures from my penis. That was a bit challenging but hey, I learned a new skill!

The plan was to also redo the glansplasty at the same time but in the end Dr. Berli felt that is was best to delay that procedure, adding a stage 4 to my Phalloplasty journey. Because of how the former glans scar tissue was worked into the length reduction, I wound up with a penis that kind of looks uncut. I didn’t really have a lot of faith that a second glansplasty would either work or look anatomical so I wound up deciding not to pursue it. I could eventually get tattoo work to augment the uncut look, but I probably won’t bother. Covid-19 has shone a light on what really matters to me and what doesn’t.

In my view—which is the only view that matters here!—my 4″ penis suits my body so much better. It has much better projection now, which turned out to be pretty important aesthetically because I had to have my testicular implants removed so my scrotum doesn’t support my penis in a way that would provide that projection.

My Phalloplasty length reduction turned out to be 3-in-1 solution for a fistula, flattened glans and what I perceived as too much length. That little fistula turned out to be a small blessing because I doubt I would have pursued a length reduction otherwise and that procedure has turned out to be extremely important in terms of how I connect with my penis.

Despite having what many in Phalloplasty circles would consider a small penis, I still get flagged by the TSA every time I fly because it’s on the large side for a flaccid natal dick, and also because of my leg scar. Earlier this year, I actually had to drop my pants (but not my underwear) for TSA agents, who seemed immediately embarrassed by my reveal, and I broke one of my cardinal rules of flying internationally when I joked with another agent who was giving me a pat down about “my big dick problems.”

Big dicks and small dicks… the truth is that there are dicks of all sizes out there! I had to navigate some unexpected twists and turns to arrive here but I’m happy to have found a size that suits me.