What is buried penis?
Buried penis is a condition that can affect boys and adult men. In this condition, the penis is of normal size but is hidden under the skin of the abdomen, thigh, or scrotum (sac beneath the penis that holds the testicles).
Symptoms and Causes
What causes buried penis?
Buried or hidden penis can be present at birth or may develop later in life. It is seen more often in infants and toddlers than in older boys and men.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Abnormalities that are present at birth: The ligaments that attach the penis to underlying structures may be weaker than usual.
- Morbid obesity: Excess fat around the abdomen and genital area can make the penis appear to be hidden.
- Lymphedema: Swelling around the scrotum area due to the collection of lymph fluid may cause the penis to become buried inside tissue.
Buried penis often comes along with other physical and psychological problems.
- Boys and men may be unable to urinate while standing, or even sitting, without getting drops of urine on the skin of the scrotum or thighs or clothes.
- Infections in the urinary tract and the genital area are common due to constant moist skin.
- In uncircumcised men, the skin covering the head of the penis may become inflamed.
- Men may be unable to get an erection. If they do get an erection, it may be painful and/or may not be able to penetrate a vagina.
- Psychological problems linked to buried penis may be present in boys and men, who may have issues like low self-esteem and depression.
Diagnosis and Tests
How is buried penis diagnosed?
Usually, a doctor can diagnose the condition with a visual and physical exam.
Management and Treatment
How is buried penis treated?
Buried penis can be difficult to treat both in children and adults. The treatment depends on the underlying cause. In infants and children; sometimes the condition goes away on its own. If buried penis occurs in adult men or does not resolve on its own in children, surgery may be needed. Each situation is different so no one surgical technique applies to every case. However, types of surgery include:
- Removing scar tissue.
- Detaching the ligament that attaches the base of the penis to the pubic bone.
- Suction lipectomy, or the removal of fat cells using surgical suction catheters inserted through tiny incisions.
- Abdominoplasty, a procedure to remove excess fat and skin from the abdominal area; also called a “tummy tuck.”
- Pannulectomy, or the removal of the pannus (excess skin and fatty tissue that hangs down over the genitals and/or thighs).
- Escutheonectomy, or the removal of the fat pad above the pubic area.
- Skin grafts to cover areas of the penis where skin coverage is lacking.
- Buried penis repair, where sutures are attached internally to the base of the penis.
Buried penis also may be treated with:
- Medications: A doctor may prescribe drugs if buried penis has caused an infection in the genital region.
- Weight loss: Obese patients usually are encouraged to lose weight before having surgery. Although weight loss alone is not likely to solve the problem, it can make complications during and after surgery less likely. Weight loss and nutritional counseling can help patients before and after surgery.
- Psychological counseling: Mental health professionals may address issues such as depression, sexual dysfunction and low self-esteem.
- Journal of Urology. Buried Penis in Adults—Presentation, Surgical Techniques and Outcomes (https://www.jurology.com/article/S0022-5347(15%2900495-4/pdf) Accessed 12/30/2020.
- Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Adult-Acquired Hidden Penis in Obese Patients: A Critical Survey of the Literature (http://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2211854) Accessed 12/20/2020.
- Al-Azhar Assiut Medical Journal. Management of Concealed Penis in Children. (http://www.aamj.eg.net/journals/pdf/1511.pdf) Accessed 12/30/2020.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/18/2020.