Several types of injuries can affect the penis.
Cuts to the Penis:
Catching the penis in a pants zipper is common, but the resulting minor cut usually heals quickly. Cuts usually heal quickly if they are simply kept clean, but people may need to take antibiotics by mouth if the cuts become infected.
The penis can be partially or fully severed. Reattachment of a severed penis is sometimes possible, but full sensation and function are rarely recovered.
Injuries to the tube that carries urine through the penis (the urethra) are serious because they may result in scarring that obstructs the flow of urine. These injuries may result from blunt injury, such as a fall straddling a fence rail or bicycle handlebar, from deep cuts, or as a complication of surgical procedures. They typically require treatment by a urologist.
Fracture of the Penis:
Excessive bending can fracture an erect penis. Such bending may occur during vigorous sexual intercourse if the penis is stubbed against the partner's pelvic bone. The “fracture” is actually a tear in one of the two tube-like structures in the penis (corpus cavernosum) that hold the extra blood flow that maintains erection.
The man has immediate pain and swelling, and the penis appears deformed. The injury often damages the structures that control erection and after the injury heals, the man may have difficulty with intercourse, urination, or both. Emergency surgery is usually necessary to repair such fractures to prevent abnormal curvature of the penis or permanent erectile dysfunction.
Injury of the Scrotum and Testes:
The location of the scrotum makes it susceptible to injury. Blunt forces (for example, a kick or crushing blow) cause most injuries. However, occasionally gunshot or stab wounds penetrate the scrotum or testes. Rarely, the scrotum is torn off the testes. Testicular injury causes sudden, severe pain, usually with nausea and vomiting. Ultrasound examination may show whether the testes have ruptured. Ice packs, a jockstrap, and drugs for pain and nausea usually effectively treat bleeding in or around the testes. Ruptured testes require surgical repair. When the scrotum is torn off, the testes can die or lose their capacity for hormone or sperm production. Surgery to cover the testes by reconstructing the scrotum or simply by burying them under the skin of the thighs protects the testes.
Last full review/revision October 2008 by Paul D. Lui, MD