Paediatric penile trauma

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Abstract

Objective  To report our experience with paediatric penile trauma in a retrospectively evaluated series.

Patients and methods  The records of 64 boys (mean age 7 years, sd 4) who were hospitalized over the last 20 years because of penile trauma were reviewed. The cause of trauma was circumcision in 43 (67%), a human hair-tie strangulation injury in 10 (16%), an animal attack in four (6%), a bicycle accident in four (6%), a zipper injury in two (3%) and electrical injury in one (2%). Patients were managed according to the severity of the injury. Eight (12%) with minimal skin loss or meatal injury underwent primary skin closure or meatoplasty; 40 (62%) with urethrocutaneous fistulae underwent repair and five (8%) with a glans hanging on a thin pedicle had the glans and the urethra reconstructed. Patients with partial or complete amputation of the glans (10) underwent primary haemostasis and meatoplasty; the penis was lengthened in one. One child with complete avulsion of the penis underwent perineal urethrostomy.

Results  Fifty-four patients (84%) were followed for a mean ( sd ) of 5.7 (4) years; there were good cosmetic and functional results in 45 (83%). Fifteen patients are now adults; 13 (86%) reported normal sexual function. Of the 40 patients assessed with circumcision-related injuries, six (15%) had functional disability (short penis in one and fistulae in five). Of the 10 patients with a hair-tie injury, none lost their glans. Of the four injuries caused by animal attacks, three had poor results (emasculation in one, short penis in one and severe curvature in the remaining patient). There was no functional disability in the remaining forms of trauma.

Conclusions  In our region, ritual circumcision and hair-tie strangulation injuries are the most common causes of penile trauma in children. Good functional and cosmetic results are possible in most cases. However, animal attacks are associated with the highest rate of long-term functional and cosmetic disability.

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