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Thursday, 28 November 2019

Following a radiograph of the hips, doctors find that the penis of a patient is literally transformed into bone


The human body is a very complex machine ... Sometimes strange things can happen and we discover it by accident. This is particularly the case here: a 63-year-old man went to a New York emergency department for left knee pain after falling ill. Leaving the hospital, the man ended up with an alarming and rare diagnosis: ossification of the penis.



The doctors found this case extremely rare when they performed a radiograph of the pelvis, in order to look for signs of bone fracture. But instead, they spotted a bone-like calcification in a most unexpected place ...

Calcium salts have accumulated in soft tissues and have hardened to form an "extended plaque" along the penis stem, as you can see on the radiograph below:

Credits: Hasbani et al./Urology Case Reports, 2019

Except for some pain, the patient has no other symptoms of this condition in the form of discharge or swelling. According to the doctors, ossification of the penis can cause a loss of flexibility and also cause erectile problems. But before the doctors could do further examinations, including to determine the cause of this ossification, the man decided to leave ignoring all the medical advice he had received from the doctors ...

Known that penis ossification was first described in humans in 1827. However, it remains rare, with fewer than 40 cases documented so far.



The most common cause is Lapeyronia Disease, a fibrosis affecting the penis. Ossification may also be due to trauma, end-stage kidney disease or other diseases that cause excess calcium in the body.

Georges El Hasbani of the American University of Beirut and his colleagues, explain the treatment of penis ossification in their case report, published in the journal Urology Case Reports. "The treatment of penis ossification depends on the extent of body ossification and the patient's symptoms."

Credits: Hasbani et al./Urology Case Reports, 2019

The case involving an uncomfortable acute pain or mild chronic pain can be managed with oral analgesics, topical agents, intralesional injections, mechanical stretching or vacuum devices, and extracorporeal shock wave therapy. Serious cases of extreme chronic pain or erectile dysfunction are usually treated surgically," they added.

Ossification of the penis is usually seen in older dogs, however, dogs already have a bone in their penis at first. In fact, this is the case for most mammal species.

Doctors explain that: "The human body is able to form bone tissue or cartilage in places affected by pathologies, when connective tissue is present. Bone tissue is known to form even in places that have nothing in common with the skeleton, including the mammary gland, salivary glands and testicles".



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