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Table of Contents
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 248-250  

Hidden penile fracture: An unusual presentation and review of literature

Department of Urology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission28-Apr-2013
Date of Acceptance25-Sep-2013
Date of Web Publication11-Mar-2015

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sagar Sabharwal
Department of Urology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
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DOI: 10.4103/0974-7796.150495

PMID: 25836974

Rights and Permissions

Penile fractures, a not so uncommon urological emergency, mostly present with a characteristic history and physical examination. Here, we present an atypical case where even in the absence of physical findings, a characteristic history led us to penile exploration and timely repair, highlighting the importance of careful history-taking in these cases.

Keywords: Penile fracture, rupture, surgery, treatment

How to cite this article:
Sabharwal S, Philip George AJ, Singh J C. Hidden penile fracture: An unusual presentation and review of literature. Urol Ann 2015;7:248-50

How to cite this URL:
Sabharwal S, Philip George AJ, Singh J C. Hidden penile fracture: An unusual presentation and review of literature. Urol Ann [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 Sep 26];7:248-50. Available from: https://www.urologyannals.com/text.asp?2015/7/2/248/150495

   Introduction Top

Penile fractures present with a typical history and characteristic findings. Here, we describe an atypical case and review the literature.

   Case Report Top

A 30-year-old gentleman heard a popping sound followed by sudden detumescence during sexual intercourse in the female superior position. Subsequently, however, he allegedly had another erection after a gap of two hours, which was normal though associated with mild pain. There was no bleeding per urethra or difficulty in voiding. He sought medical help more than - 24 hours after the incident.

Penile examination was unremarkable and thus misleading, with no edema or hematoma of the penile shaft, and no palpable rent in the albuginea. A dorsal Peyronies plaque and mild tenderness on the distal ventral penile shaft were the only positive signs.

Although the physical findings were not suggestive of a penile fracture and the patient allegedly had achieved a normal erection following the initial episode, exploration was undertaken in view of a typical history.

Penile ultrasonogram revealed small hematomas in the region of the left corpus cavernosum and the right side of spongiosum; however, no defects in the albuginea were picked up.

Using a circumcoronal incision, the penis was degloved, exposing the tunica albuginea. No obvious hematoma or rent was visible either in the tunica albuginea around the cavernosa or in the spongiosum.

Thus, though there was an initial suspicion of a negative exploration, a careful review of the history, examination, and imaging led us to explore the most ventral distal aspect of the corpora cavernosa hidden by the spongiosum [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Tear in the tunica albuginea in the distal ventral most shaft

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Dissecting the spongiosum off the cavernosae revealed a sudden gush of a small amount of altered blood suggestive of a concealed hematoma followed by visualization of a 1 cm long tear in the tunica albuginea in the distal ventral shaft, approximately 2 cm proximal to the glans [Figure 2]. This was repaired with absorbable 3-0 interrupted sutures with buried knots [Figure 3].
Figure 2: Tunical repair with absorbable 3-0 interrupted sutures with buried knots

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Figure 3: Spongiosum dissected off the corpus cavernosum revealing the ventral most aspect of cavernosae

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   Discussion Top

Reported first by Abul kasem in Cordoba more than a thousand years ago, fracture penis represents a traumatic breach in the tunica albuginea in the erect state. Its incidence is on the rise; however, it may still be under-reported due to associated guilt and embarrassment. The etiology varies, with penile manipulation during masturbation and 'taghaandan' (in Kurdish meaning to click or snap) being common in Middle East, whereas vigorous sexual intercourse being the major cause in the West. Certain sexual practices and positions like the female superior or the rear entry vaginal/anal intercourse are an added risk for penile fracture. [1],[2],[3]

Primarily, a clinical diagnosis, the history, and physical examination are typical. A popping, snapping, or cracking sound is usually reported at the time of sexual intercourse or penile manipulation followed by pain and sudden detumescence. Penile swelling, hematoma, discoloration, and deviation follow, which have been described as the 'eggplant deformity' or the 'aubergine sign.' Bleeding per urethra, hematuria, or urinary retention might occur, which indicate a urethral injury. [1],[4]

Ultrasonogram may corroborate the clinical findings. High frequency probes easily pick up tunica albuginea defects and hematomas. Cavernosography and MRI may be done when the clinical diagnosis cannot be reached, but not at the cost of surgical delay. Retrograde urethrogram and flexible cystoscopy may help in cases with suspected urethral injuries. [1],[4],[5],[6]

Earliest surgical exploration is the current treatment of choice with subcoronal circumcising incision being preferred by most authors as it allows complete exposure of all corporal bodies along the entire shaft. Tunical tears should be repaired with absorbable continuous interlocking or interrupted suture with buried knots. Non-absorbable sutures promote scar formation and should be avoided. Spongiosal injuries, if present, should be repaired at the same time. Surgical intervention is reported to be safe with restoration of erectile function comparable to controls and a high patient and partner satisfaction levels. [1],[2],[7],[8]

Though the physical findings in our case were non-contributory and the patient achieved a normal erection following the initial episode, possibly due to the location of the rent, which is unlike that reported in literature, the typical history supporting the diagnosis of a penile fracture prompted us to opt for a surgical exploration, even though ultrasound findings were not definitive.

   Conclusion Top

A typical history, even without physical findings and imaging, warrants a high index of suspicion and should prompt an immediate surgical exploration in suspected penile fractures.

   References Top

Kamdar C, Mooppan UM, Kim H, Gulmi FA. Penile fracture: Preoperative evaluation and surgical technique for optimal patient outcome. BJU Int 2008;102:1640-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Zargooshi J. Penile fracture in Kermanshah, Iran: The long-term results of surgical treatment. BJU Int 2002;89:890-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
McEleny K, Ramsden P, Pickard R. Penile fracture. Nat Clin Pract Urol 2006;3:170-4, quiz 175.  Back to cited text no. 3
Pandyan GV, Zaharani AB, Al Rashid M. Fracture penis: An analysis of 26 cases. Scientific World Journal 2006;6:2327-33.  Back to cited text no. 4
Bello JO. Synergism of clinical evaluation and penile sonographic imaging in diagnosis of penile fracture: A case report. J Med Case Rep 2012;6:321.  Back to cited text no. 5
Ash A, Miller J, Preston D. Point of care ultrasound used to exclude penile fracture. Crit Ultrasound J 2012;4:17.  Back to cited text no. 6
Sawh SL, O′Leary MP, Ferreira MD, Berry AM, Maharaj D. Fractured penis: A review. Int J Impot Res 2008;20:366-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ibrahiem el-HI, el-Tholoth HS, Mohsen T, Hekal IA, el-Assmy A. Penile fracture: Long term outcome of immediate surgical intervention. Urology 2010;75:108-11.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]


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