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July 19, 1965

The Rape of the Phallus

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Pulmonary Diseases, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore.

JAMA. 1965;193(3):223-224. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090030045013

Surgical operations fall into three types. First, there are those which are socially acceptable and which can be discussed in public without embarassment; second, there are those such as hemorrhoidectomy which do not qualify as conversation pieces and generally are mentioned only in whispers; and last, there are those which are actually thought to add to the social status of the incised subject. Those in the latter category pass rapidly in and out of favor. While nephropexy was in vogue 30 years ago, 10 to 15 years later tonsillectomy was popular, and currently such exotic operations as hiatus hernia repair are the real status symbols. Before an operation can be accepted as likely to add to one's social status, certain criteria have to be fulfilled: the operation must be performed on a U part of the body, preferably the symptoms which it aims to relieve should be vague and supratentorial