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The Concealed Morbidity of Buried Penis

February 7, 2022

A review recently published in Translational Andrology and Urology to discuss the progress in understanding adult-acquired buried penis as a surgical condition was authored by urology experts, including UPMC Department of Urology physician Paul J. Rusilko, DO, FACS.

Adult acquired buried penis (AABP) is a condition of entrapment of the phallus resulting most commonly from morbid obesity and formation of cicatrix with other etiologies including genital lymphedema, hidradenitis and trauma. The incidence of this syndrome is invariably connected to the increasing prevalence of obesity.

The purpose of this review is to examine the current literature in AABP with a focus on the morbidity of AABP and perioperative management.

Relevant articles were identified through PubMed search for keywords, including adult-acquired buried penis, surgical reconstruction, pre-operative evaluation, quality of life, penile cancer, urethral stricture, depression, and surgical outcomes. Included in these articles were studies also conducted by Rusilko and other urology experts, such as:

The discussion and literature surrounding buried penis reconstruction started with the goal of correcting a cosmetic problem and has recently become fairly successful in this aim with an over 85% rate of successful reconstruction in many series with a more uniform surgical approach.

The most recent trends have examined the significant burden of morbidity and even mortality that AABP can place on patients as it contributes to risk of penile cancer, urethral strictures, and mood disorders. Studies in this space have shown that surgical repair can be successful in improving quality of life for patients with AABP, and the removal of the offending pathophysiology suggests its success in correcting the physical morbidities.

New directions for research and management of this condition should include a focus on educating providers and patients to make reconstruction more accessible to patients in need as AABP continues to journey toward mainstream acceptance as a surgical condition.

Read more about this study on PubMed.

Other study authors include Christopher Staniorski, MD.