Penile Fracture: What Is It, and Is It Dangerous?

Some people assume that because there’s no bone in the penis, it’s impossible to fracture this bodily organ. But while this type of injury is rare, it’s true that you can break your penis through certain types of trauma—and a penile fracture can have serious health consequences if it isn’t addressed by a medical professional.

The penis can withstand high levels of blood pressure as an individual develops an erection, forcing blood into the vessels of the penis and causing it to enlarge. But this regular function can be disrupted when a penis fracture occurs, breaking the important structures in the penis and making it impossible to get an erection—and often resulting in a lot of pain, too. Here’s a look at the causes and symptoms of penile fractures, as well as when to seek out medical treatment.

man in boxer briefs holding an SOS sign over his groin

Causes of a Penis Fracture

A penile fracture is the result of trauma that forces the penis to bend suddenly or significantly while erect. Although there’s no bone in the penis, a broken penis occurs when one of the two cylinders housing the blood vessels in the penis have ruptured.

A man most often suffers a penis fracture during intercourse when the penis exits the vagina and is thrust into the pelvis, delivering blunt force that ruptures the penis. Other less common situations, such as a fall when the penis is erect, aggressive masturbation or other fluke accidents, can result in a snapped penis.

In rare situations, a penile fracture can also occur when the penis is flaccid if serious trauma is inflicted on the penis. This could occur during a car accident or other traumatic situations.

Penile Fracture Symptoms

A burst blood vessel in the penis will be accompanied by immediate and noticeable symptoms. Signs of a penis fracture include the following:

  • Immediate and intense pain in the penis
  • A popping or cracking sound indicating a fracture
  • Swelling caused by a burst blood vessel in the penis—this swelling will cause the penis to enlarge in the shape of an eggplant
  • A quick loss of erection
  • Discoloration of the penis due to internal bleeding—in many cases, this discoloration will be purple
  • Potential blood at the opening of the urethra, resulting from internal bleeding and damage to the urethra itself

If any of these symptoms develop, the likelihood of a broken penis is high. Keep in mind that typically these symptoms will develop immediately after a penile fracture has occurred, making it easy to connect the symptoms to a likely penis injury.

Treatment Options for a Broken or Snapped Penis

When you visit the doctor due to concerns over a snapped penis, your doctor may use ultrasound and/or X-rays to evaluate and diagnose a penile fracture.

If your doctor diagnoses a penis fracture, you will likely need to undergo surgery to repair the tear in the structure of your penis. A surgeon will stitch together the ruptured cylinder or cylinders damaged in your penis. After the surgery, individuals will face a gradual road to recovery: You may be asked to stay in the hospital for several days to monitor your healing progress, and you will likely require follow-up exams to make sure the penis is healing correctly.

In most cases, recovery from a penile fracture will include an abstinence period of four to six weeks—and possibly longer, if complications or healing difficulties occur. Your doctor will likely want you to avoid erections to avoid aggravating the injury as it recovers.

When to Seek Out Medical Assistance for a Penis Injury

If you develop penile fracture symptoms or suspect you’ve suffered a penis injury, prompt medical attention is necessary. Most penile fractures require surgery to fix, and delays in receiving this procedure can risk the future health of the penis. Complications such as future erectile dysfunction, a curved penis or painful erections become a greater long-term risk when medical attention is delayed or avoided.

Not only do penile fractures rarely get better on their own, but the pain can be excruciating. While you seek out a surgical resolution to this injury, you can also receive medical assistance to manage the severe pain you may be experiencing. While cases of a broken penis are rare, they shouldn’t be dismissed if you suspect you’ve suffered this injury. Take your penile fracture symptoms seriously and call your doctor or a local emergency room right away.



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