You've seen these ads. They arrive via e-mail or can be found in some popular magazines and read something like this:
If the size of your penis torments you, we have the solution...[o]ur specialized doctors will widen or make bigger the penis ... don't feel frustrated or ashamed of intimacy because your problem now has a solution.Many are unaware that such an augmentation procedure is riddled with risk. The American Urological Association (AUA) guides as follows:
The American Urological Association ... considers injection of fat cells for increasing penile girth (width) to be a procedure which has not been shown to be safe or effective.Apparently, the Plaintiff in Corcino v. Filstein, was unfamiliar with these risks, injured while undergoing penile-augmentation surgery, and suffered "permanent injury." He later commenced a lawsuit in the New York County Supreme Court alleging medical malpractice, lack of informed consent, deceptive business practices, and loss of consortium (i.e., inability to have sexual relations with one's spouse).
The AUA also considers the cutting of the suspensory ligament of the penis for increasing penile length in adults to be a procedure that has not been shown to be safe or effective.
When the defendant moved for summary judgment--a disposition of the case based solely on the papers presented by the parties--the Supreme Court shafted the defendant's request in its entirety, finding that a formal hearing or trial was needed to address the issues in dispute. On appeal, the Appellate Division, First Department, disagreed with that part of the lower court's order which refused to dismiss the deceptive-business practices claim. The governing statute--General Business Law section 349--requires that the wrongdoer engage in "consumer-oriented conduct that was materially deceptive or misleading, causing injury ...." Since the advertisement did not guarantee results, offer "misleading statistics on success rates," or assert that the procedure was risk-free, the appellate court believed that that part of Plaintiff's case that could not be allowed to continue.
While a surgery-related release form had been signed by the Plaintiff, an expert's affidavit raised questions as to whether the doctor complied with his "medical obligations under the circumstances," and whether Plaintiff had been fully apprised of the procedure's complications and risks. Additionally, since "cutting the suspensory ligament and grafting the fat around the patient's penis" were "inherently risky," and deviated from "acceptable medical practice," the appellate court believed that the defendant's purported malpractice deserved further inquiry.
While the outcome of the appeal was certainly favorable to the Plaintiff, the victory strikes us as Pyrrhic.
For a copy of the Appellate Division's decision in Corcino v. Filstein, please click on the following link:
To be directed to the AUA's website, please click on the following link: