Organ Lessons

Surgeon genital's warning: A penis-enlargement operation can leave you scarred, lumpy and--yikes!--smaller

Many others are too shy to come forward. But on a random morning in the Santa Monica court building, a Rosenstein patient is sighted, shuffling through files, sheepishly looking for an experienced lawyer among the many who represent former patients who have already sued the doctor.

This particular patient--a short man with a European accent and bloodshot eyes--says his penis is not as badly misshapen as some others.

How does he know? He sees them all the time at the gym in Los Angeles, he says.

In fact, there are so many allegedly botched penises out there that two cottage industries have sprung up as a result. Keith Schulner, a lawyer in Camarillo, California, represents 20 men who are suing Rosenstein.

And then there are the doctors who specialize in repairing bad penis-enlargement jobs. One, Dr. Gary Rheinschild of Anaheim, advertises his reconstructive services in the Los Angeles Times.

Of course, Rosenstein has been known to fix Rheinschild's enlargemR>ents-gone-awry, too.

But Rosenstein's not botching anyone's crotch anymore. Last month, the California Medical Board suspended Rosenstein's license to practice medicine in the state. In a ten-page "Findings of Fact," administrative law judge Samuel Reyes found Rosenstein was guilty of voluminous indiscretions, including:

* False advertising. In his ads, Rosenstein claimed that "most patients appear as if they have doubled in size" and that he was the "world's leading authority on penile surgery."

* Incomplete screening of clients. "Some surgeries were canceled only after patients in the operating room were discovered to have what appeared to be ... an active herpes outbreak, a prior augmentation surgery or a problematic hernia-repair scar," Reyes wrote.

* Less-than-sterile conditions. "Rarely were more than 15 minutes devoted to cleaning the operating room between procedures. As a result, blood was occasionally left on the floor; also, liposuctioned fat which had become airborne during operations sometimes remained on walls and cabinets."

* Disfigurement and infection of patients. Reyes documented the experiences of four patients, including one whose problems began in the recovery room with excruciating pain. The patient later met with Rosenstein, with the following complaints:

"He had a big, red, bulbous blister on the head of the penis; he could not touch or wash himself; he could hardly walk; he could not lay in bed; he could hardly urinate; he could not wear clothing; he could not stand any pressure on the groin area; hehad developed a foreskin which totally enveloped the penis; his penis was red and raw; the penis was slowly dripping a pinkish-red bloody substance and a butter-colored secretion; he was experiencing burning and stinging upon urination; he was not able to sleep; and he felt weak and sickly.

"[Rosenstein] examined the genitalia and told the patient that all was normal."

Rosenstein could not be reached for comment. Chris Solton, marketing directoR>r for the now-defunct Rosenstein Medical Group, tells New Times that Rosenstein is traveling in Europe, spreading the gospel about his penis-enlargement techniques.

Rosenstein has retired from surgery, Solton says, because he developed repetitive-stress injuries from performing up to ten penis enlargements a day.

Solton points to the large number of satisfied Rosenstein patients as proof that the guy's not all bad. "There's a thousand reasons for not having the perfect result," he says--many of them beyond the doctor's control.

Solton adds, "People will come up saying they have problems, you know, they lost their lover--whatever--their dog ran away. And all that stuff was happening beforehand. Now they just have something to blame it on."

The American Urological Association does not consider either the lengthening or widening techniques used by Rosenstein and other penis modifiers to be "safe or efficacious," according to a policy statement issued in 1994 and reaffirmed last September.

Yet thousands of men have gone under the knife--not just with Rosenstein, but with surgeons performing similar procedures in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Florida.

While David, the thirtysomething swinger, is certainly the stereotypical penile-enlargement candidate, others have a more surprising profile. Like Joe, a Phoenix businessman who has been married to the same woman for more than 20 years.

"I'm not like a freak of nature. I'm just a normal, middle-aged guy--great family, great wife," he says.

Joe's wife never complained about his physique, but Joe had always considered hispenis to be on the small side. So when he saw an ad promoting Dr. William Casey, a Burbank urologist who offers the same lengthening technique as Rosenstein, he splurged.

Because of excessive scarring, the surgery left Joe with a shorter erection.
"I had an erection-reduction operation!" he says incredulously.
(Casey says that scarring, which he admits is responsible for shorter erR>ections, is not uncommon; he recommends that patients wear penile weights and see him once a month for steroid injections designed to diminish scars. Joe gave up after his fifth steroid treatment.)

Joe eventually found Dr. Michael Chasin, aMesa urologist who specializes in sexual dysfunction. Chasin does not perform penile enlargements, although he has patients who wish their penises were bigger.

Chasin says, "What Rosenstein proved is that there's a tremendous number of patients out there who really are unhappy, and they've got a problem, and it should be addressed by mainstream medicine. Not necessarily by making it bigger, but at least by providing some counseling."

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