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Postop Phalloplasty: Frequently Asked Questions

General ?s



I’m having pain from surgery. Is this normal?

  • Pain is very common and should stay about the same for a few days and gradually improve thereafter. It is not normal if the pain progressively worsens without any activity (that is, pain not brought on by any particular movement or position).

I’m not having daily bowel movements. Is this normal?

  • Constipation (generally defined as not having at least one large bowel movement per day) is very common after surgery. It is especially common when taking pain meds regularly. It is normal to not have a bowel movement for about the first week after phalloplasty. Thereafter, you should have about one large bowel movement per day.

  • Make sure to take miralax or other stool softeners regularly. Constipation can negatively affect your ability to urinate since the colon and bladder share a similar nerve supply. Sometimes, another round of magnesium citrate or other bowel prep is required.

When can I drive?

  • Driving is safe when you are catheter free, off prescription pain meds, have functional use of both hands. This may take around 4 weeks. 

How much should I walk?

  • Walking is important and the general recommendation is about 1 hour total per day (six 10 minute walks, four 15 minute walks, etc). Stairs are also okay, but take it one step at a time and take it slow.

  • Ramping up activity is okay as long as it's done slowly. Example: 90 minutes of walking at 2 weeks postop.

When can I shower?

  • About 7 days after phalloplasty.

  • Wrap the arm/thigh donor site to minimize it getting wet.

  • The thigh “scab” with the yellow xeroform dressing acts like a scab. It may be covered but it will inevitably get wet. When wet, you can air-dry or blow dry the xeroform scab.

  • There are new skin crevices around the penis and scrotum that require good hygiene. Clean between the skin folds of the scrotum, penis, and perineum to avoid a buildup of body oils, sweat, and sloughed skin. Ignoring this will create an odor and may increase your risk of getting an infection.

When can I submerge in a body of water (swim, bath, etc)?

  • Swimming and baths are okay when the wounds have all healed and sealed--typically 6-8 weeks after surgery.

  • If the wounds have not healed, wait until they have healed before any type of water submersion.

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