What is a penile fracture?
A penile fracture isn’t really a fracture because the penis isn’t really a bone. However, you can ‘break’ your penis if it’s bent or hit while it’s erect.
Your penis has two columns or cylinders that are like sponges that fill with blood and make the penis hard. One column is a corpus cavernosum. Two are called the corpora cavernosa. These columns are covered by a protective layer called the tunica albuginea. Your penis is considered ‘broken’ when the tunica abulginea is torn open.
How common is penile fracture?
Some reports say that penile fracture is rare, but others say that it isn’t uncommon. One complication is that people don’t always know that penis fracture is a medical emergency.
It happens more often in younger individuals.
Symptoms and Causes
What are the symptoms of penile fracture?
The symptoms of penile fracture often include:
- A popping or cracking sound when it happens.
- Extreme pain that may or may not continue.
- Immediate loss of erection.
- Bruising and swelling from blood build-up under the skin.
- Blood in the urine or at the tip of the penis.
What causes penile fracture?
Penile fracture is caused by blunt force — when your penis is erect and it hits something hard and bends. Common causes are:
- Sexual activity with a partner. Penile fracture can happen when your penis slips out of your partner and thrusts against the area between the anus and the perineum or the pelvic bone.
- Energetic masturbation.
- Falling onto your erection, rolling over onto your erection or hitting your erect penis against a wall or door in a dark room.
- Taqaandan. This method of bending an erect penis is practiced by some Middle Eastern or Central Asian men in order to make an erection go away or to change the shape or size of the penis.
Diagnosis and Tests
How is penile fracture diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider may diagnose penile fracture by physical examination alone. However, they might also order tests such as:
Management and Treatment
How is penile fracture treated?
Currently, penile fracture is most often treated with surgery. Your surgeon will repair the tunica albuginea with stitches. Your provider can also look for other injuries, such as a tear in the urethra.
What are possible complications of surgery to repair penile fracture?
Complications of penile fracture repair surgery may include:
- A curved penis.
- Fistulas (unwanted openings).
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Painful erection.
How long will it take to recover from penile fracture surgery?
You might be in the hospital for a few days after penile fracture surgery. You’ll have follow-up visits to check that the wound is healing and that you aren’t having problems urinating.
Your provider will talk with you about when you can go back to work or school and when you can return to sexual activity.
How can I reduce my risk of penile fractures?
You can avoid penile fracture by not bending your erect penis on purpose. You can also consider being careful during vigorous sexual activity.
Outlook / Prognosis
What is the prognosis (outlook) for an individual with penile fracture?
If your penile fracture is treated, the outlook is good. If you don’t have surgery right away, or ever, you may have a higher risk of problems with:
- Getting and keeping an erection.
- Your penis being curved or bent.
- Scar tissue forming.
When should I talk with my healthcare provider about penile fracture?
If you have injured your erect penis, you should get immediate medical care. If you had an injury and didn’t get immediate care, you should still talk to your healthcare provider. This is especially true if:
- You’re having trouble urinating.
- You have blood in your urine.
- Your penis is discolored, swollen or painful.
- You have any other symptoms that are bothering you.
If you have had penile fracture surgery, you should contact your healthcare provider if you have any signs of infection, like fever, or if you have excessive pain or bleeding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between penile fracture and avulsion penile trauma?
Some types of penis injuries may seem at first to be penile fractures. You may have some or most of the symptoms, but experience milder pain. One injury is avulsion penile trauma, which happens when the skin of the penis is removed. This usually happens during industrial accidents. It isn’t the same as when the penis is fractured. Usually, the skin is intact in a penile fracture.
Can erectile tissue heal on its own?
It’s not advisable to just let your penis heal by itself. If you’ve had a penile fracture and don’t get treatment, it’s possible that your penis could heal crooked. You might also lose sexual or urinary function.
Is penile fracture an emergency?
Yes, penile fracture is an emergency. You need to get medical help immediately.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Penile fracture is a medical emergency. Go to the emergency room if you have a blunt force trauma involving your erect penis. Surgery is the treatment of choice for most cases of penile fracture. Surgery has a better long-term outcome than conservative therapy.
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