A penile fracture is a damage in the tunica albuginea. The tunica albuginea is the rubbery sheath of tissue below the skin that allows the penis to increase in width and length to produce a firm erection. Sometimes the erectile tissue beneath the tunica albuginea also gets ruptured. That’s known as the corpus cavernosum.
Penile fracture is a medical emergency. If it happens, the patient needs to get to a hospital as soon as possible and he will probably need surgery. Quick treatment can help prevent permanent sexual and urinary problems.
Symptoms of Penile Fracture
If the patient takes a sharp blow to the genitals, his penis may be sore or bruised. Penile fracture is a more severe injury. The following symptoms are red flags for possible fracture:
- audible snapping or popping sound
- sudden loss of his erection
- severe pain following the injury
- dark bruising above the injured area
- bent penis
- blood leaking from penis
- difficult urination
Causes of Penile Fracture
Penile fracture happens when sudden trauma or bending of the penis breaks the tunica albuginea. The erectile tissue below the tunica albuginea may also rupture. These twin bodies of spongy tissue normally fill with blood when you are sexually aroused, producing an erection.
A fracture can also injure the urethra. The urethra is the channel in the penis that urine flows through.
Common causes of penile fracture include:
- Forceful bending of the penis during vaginal intercourse.
- a major effect on the erect penis during a fall, car accident, or other mishaps
- traumatic masturbation
The most common cause of penile fracture in sexually active men is trauma during intercourse.
Risk factors associated with Penile Fracture
However, a penile fracture can result from injury during any position in sexual intercourse, certain practices increase the odds. In heterosexual men, the woman on top position increases the risk.
When the penis is momentarily blocked at the entrance to the vagina, the woman’s full weight can forcefully bend the erection. The woman may also rock too far forward or backward, bending the shaft of the penis. The rear-entry position is also associated with penile injuries.
Seeking help in case of Penile Fracture
If the patient suspects a penile fracture, he will see a doctor as soon as possible. If not treated, a penile fracture can leave the penis permanently damaged. Penile fracture can also lead to difficulty in having an erection. That’s known as erectile dysfunction (ED).
Diagnosis of Penile Fracture
A doctor can confirm that the patient has penile fracture based on an exam and discussion of the circumstances of the injury. The patient may need to have a medical imaging study done if the doctor cannot make a clear diagnosis through an exam.
Imaging studies for penile injuries include:
- a special X-ray, called cavernosography, which requires injecting a special dye into the blood vessels of the penis
- an ultrasound of the penile, in which the internal structure of the penis is imaged with sound waves
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a scanner that uses a magnetic field and radio-energy pulses to create detailed images of the inside of the penis
The patient may also need to undergo special urinary tests to check if the urethra has been damaged. This happens in up to 38% of men with have penile fractures.
A common test involves injecting a dye into the urethra through the tip of the penis and taking an X-ray. This reveals any damage or abnormalities the surgeon will need to know about when you undergo a repair.
Treatment of Penile Fracture
Penile fractures usually require surgery. The surgeon will use stitches to close the tear in the tunica albuginea and corpus cavernosum. The main goals of treatment are to restore or maintain the patient’s ability to have erections and preserve urinary function.
Recovery from Penile Fracture
After surgery, the patient will stay in the hospital, typically for one to three days. The doctor will prescribe pain medication and antibiotics. Take medications as directed by the doctor.
After surgery, the fracture will take months to fully heal. The patient may need to have follow-up exams and possibly imaging studies to:
- check on the progress of healing
- examine the veins and arteries in the penis
- assess blood flow
The patient shouldn’t have intercourse for at least a month after surgery. Ask the doctor what he can do to assist in healing the injury.
Surgery has good results in over 90% of cases. Some men may experience side effects after the repair, including erectile dysfunction, the curvature of the penis, and painful erections.
Which are the different tests that have to be performed before Surgery for fractured penis?
Some of the different tests that have to be performed before Surgery for fractured penis:
- Penile Ultrasound