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 "Penis Fractures"

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Broken Penis

"You Got Stiffed"

A broken penis? I didn't know a penis could get broken?

Although it sounds like a bad dream, it can happen and does roughly 700 times per year in the United States alone.

Discussing penis fractures in flippant casual terms almost always causes men to cross their legs in response to the mere thought of this catastrophe. Even Dr.Scratch, the guy who checked my prostate, the seasoned medical professional he is, cringed at the very mention of the problem.

An erect penis is hard - almost like a bone - because it is full of blood under pressure. Imagine a 5-inch length of very lightweight but rigid plastic pipe. If you bend it sharply, it will fracture. A stiffy is similar to that plastic pipe. It's full of blood, and just under the skin it is encased in a tight canvas like circular ligament - almost like a bandage. If your erect penis is made to bend too hard, you can actually tear that ligament-bandage and break your dick like a wooden matchstick.

The vast majority of these injuries occur during sexual activity. Most patients are, however, so embarrassed that they will often manufacture elaborate stories that involve walking into walls and slamming doors. In these scenarios, the old adage 'truth is stranger than fiction' becomes significant.

"The symptom complex is fairly classic", says urologist Dr Damien Png. Typically, the insertee is lying on his back, and when his penis becomes dislodged from whatever orifice he is pummelling, a hasty (and no doubt off-the-mark) attempt to reinsert it by his partner (who is on top) may lead the penis to bend unnaturally. A loud snap and excruciating pain always follows, as well as the rapid development of a dramatic bruise - which can swell to the size of a small orange.


Having seen his fair share of such cases, Dr Png explains that immediate treatment is key. "If a penis fracture is left unattended, complications like scarring, severe angulation/deformation and even impotence can result". In addition (though rare), urethral damage is a possibility with a fracture and this can lead to a whole host of new and grotesque problems. Adds Dr Png, "this is often not an issue though, because the pain is so agonizing that patients rush immediately to the emergency room for medical attention".

Complete recovery is, thankfully, very achievable with treatment that comes in the form of day surgery coupled with a day or two of observation. And soon enough, you'll be able to get back on the saddle again. But as the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. How does one minimize one's risk?

Following the plastic pipe analogy (and some vestiges of secondary school physics), one would be tempted to assume that guys with longer and/or skinnier dicks would be more susceptible to incurring a fracture. This, I am told, is a quite untrue. "It's really the case of the nature of one's sexual activities," explains Dr Png. "As with any activity, the more acrobatic and rougher it is, the higher the risk of injury."

I'd love to see the medical records for the guys in Cirque du Soleil.

Sam Fields

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National Institues of Health
The national clearinghouse for information on urological diseases, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda Maryland.

The American Foundation for Urologic Diseases
An organization dedicated to funding research.
Meet our staff and suggest topics.

Mayo Medical Clinic
A May 1997 article on Peyronies disease, appearing in the Mayo Clinic Patient information system.

Peyronies Disease
Details the cause and treatment of Peyronies disease
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