Penile and Urethral Preservation Surgery  

Penile and urethral preservation surgery are designed to preserve the quality of life for men suffering from penile cancer.     
Penile and urethral cancers are fairly rare, and surgery is the most common treatment option. The goal of any cancer surgery is to remove all of the cancerous tissue, and depending on how much the cancer has spread, penile and urethral preservation surgical techniques can limit the amount of tissue removed or replace removed tissue without compromising cancer control.  

What Are the Benefits of Penile and Urethral Preservation Surgery?  

Treating penile and urethral cancer through surgical techniques that preserve or regain sufficient tissue to avoid disfigurement and allow sexual performance and standing urination can greatly help a patient’s psychological well-being. Normal side effects of penis and urethral removal surgery can include a profoundly negative quality of life for the patient.     


There are several different options for penile and urethral preservation surgery. In cases involving lower stage and grade cancers, surgical options may include: 

  • Circumcision, in cases where the cancer is confined to the foreskin 
  • Laser ablation 

For more involved tumors, some of the surgical techniques that can be used to preserve tissue include: 

  • Glans penis (head) resurfacing 
  • Partial removal of the glans penis 
  • Removal of the glans penis and reconstruction 
  • Simple excision 
  • Reconstruction of the penis stump 
  • Mohs micrographic surgery to only remove the affected layers of tissue 
  • Chemotherapy or radiation to shrink the tumor before surgery 

In cases where a partial penectomy is needed, the surgeon will leave as much of the shaft intact as possible to allow the patient to retain urological and sexual function.  

Penile and urethral cancer can sometimes spread to lymph nodes in the groin, and the surgeon can perform a sentinel lymph node biopsy to see if the lymph node to which cancer cells are most likely to spread has been affected. If it hasn’t, it won’t be necessary to remove the other lymph nodes, preserving even more tissue.  


As penile and urethral preservation surgical techniques become more accepted, statistics show that the chance of long-term patient survival remains steady despite the increased chance of the cancer returning. These techniques can reduce the penile alterations and sexual dysfunction produced by traditional surgical approaches.   

Tampa General Hospital treats many urological problems commonly experienced by men. Our team of experienced medical professionals allows us to offer a comprehensive, multispecialty approach to urological care.