There are many types of health problems that only affect men, and one of them is having a buried penis. Most people have probably never even heard of what a buried penis is. A buried penis is a penis that is covered by excess skin in the scrotum or the in the pubic region. There is no difference in the length of the penis, and there is also no impact on the functioning. The only thing is that the penis is hidden. There are many causes of this condition, and it is known to affect a person’s sexual arousal and urination. A buried penis can cause psychological haram and embarrassment to a person. Read on to find out all you need to know on what is a buried penis and whether it can be treated.
What is a Buried Penis?
Buried penis is a medical condition that affects boys and even adult men. In people who have this condition, while the penis remains of average size, it is hidden under the skin of the thigh, abdomen, or the scrotum. The scrotum is the sac located underneath the penis that contains the testicles. The penis also remains normal in function, but it can affect a person’s sexual arousal and urination.
There are many causes of a buried penis. In most cases, a buried or hidden penis is usually present at birth. However, it might even develop later on in life. It is more commonly observed in infants and toddler rather than in older boys and men. The condition of the buried penis is treatable with surgery.(1)
Having a buried penis is known to not only cause embarrassment, but it can also cause psychological harm in boys and men.
What are the Causes of a Buried Penis?
Some of the common causes of the buried penis can be:
- Fluid retention
- Excess fat – Presence of excessive fat around the genital area and the abdomen can cause the penis to appear to be hidden or buried.
- Complications from a circumcision – Either too much or not enough of the foreskin gets removed during circumcision. The remaining skin present around the penis might thus be pulled forward, hiding or burying the penis.
- Abnormalities at birth including the ligament that attaches the penis to the underlying parts may be weaker than normal
- Lymphedema – Swelling present around the scrotum region because of a buildup of lymph fluid, which causes the penis to become buried inside this tissue.
Research has indicated that this condition is not an inherited trait and is also not related to any hormonal changes or fluctuations in the body.
If you have a doubt that there is something unusual about your baby’s penis and you are considering having circumcision done, then most doctors recommend that you delay the circumcision until a more thorough check-up can be carried out, and an exact diagnosis can be reached.
Is Buried Penis A Common Condition?
A buried penis is not at all a common condition. In fact, one study found that the condition was present in even less than four percent of all newborn boys in Japan.(2) More often than not, the condition tends to be congenital, meaning that it is present from birth itself. However, it can also develop in adulthood or during childhood, though the incidence of having a buried penis in men or among older boys is not well known and generally unheard of as well.
Complications Of A Buried Penis
There can be many types of complications from a buried penis. The most common problem that arises is that a buried penis can cause problems in urinating. This can affect males of any age who have a buried penis. While urinating, the urine may often hit the thighs or the scrotum. Urinary tract infections and skin irritation can also be common. Furthermore, the skin on the penis can even start becoming inflamed, and due to hygiene challenges, infections such as balanitis also become common.
In adult males and adolescents, a buried penis makes it more difficult to get an erection, or if an erection is possible, then it might still be challenging to have intercourse. Due to all these problems, a person having a buried penis is likely to suffer from psychological problems related to anxiety, low self-esteem, and even depression.
Diagnosis of a Buried Penis
A buried penis is typically diagnosed after a physical examination. Your doctor is able to distinguish a buried penis from other related conditions, such as a micropenis. A micropenis is a condition in which a person has a small penis. If you or your newborn baby are having symptoms of a buried penis, then you need to consult a doctor at the earliest.
How is Buried Penis Treated?
The condition of the buried penis is usually treated with surgery. In very young children, though, the condition might just resolve itself without requiring any intervention.
For children who are morbidly obese or for obese adults as well, losing some weight might help. However, losing weight is not going to be enough to treat the conditions completely.
If there is a need for surgery, then the surgical options for treating a buried penis include:
- A tummy tuck or an abdominoplasty – this is a surgical procedure where the excess fat, skin, and tissue from the region are removed. This is considered to be a cosmetic procedure, and many insurance companies do not cover the costs of this surgery.
- Detaching the ligaments that are connecting the pubic bone to the base of the penis.
- Panniculectomy – a surgery that removes the excess skin and tissue (or the pannus) that hangs over the genitals and the thighs.
- Suction lipectomy – a procedure that makes use of catheters to suck out all the fat cells from under the skin from the genital area.
- Performing skin grafts for covering the penis area where skin coverage is required. This procedure is needed when too much of the skin gets removed during circumcision.
- Escutheonectomy – a procedure where the pad of fat that is located just above the pubic area is removed surgically.
After undergoing surgery, it is likely that you will need antibiotics so as to prevent any infection from developing in the genital area. You might also require psychological counseling if your condition is serious enough that it starts affecting your or your child’s self-esteem and sexual health.
For achieving better long-term outcomes, it is best if surgical interventions are carried out at a young age. This is also recommended because as males start to age, they have a greater accumulation of fat in the pubic area and more frequent erections as well. Both of these factors make surgical procedures more challenging and also increases the risk of complications from the surgery.
There is a lack of reliable and sufficient data on how likely it is that a buried penis will resolve itself by adulthood or by adolescence, after being diagnosed in a newborn or a young boy.
There are many successful surgical options that can help resolve the problem of a buried penis. Surgery can also make a huge difference in the quality of life if you have been living with a buried penis. After surgery, problems with sexual function and urination usually get eliminated, and if skin grafts are needed, then all you will require is a period of a couple of weeks for the appearance of the penis to come back to normal or to recover.
Once a buried penis is treated, it is unlikely that the condition will return in any form. If you are having a buried penis due to obesity or any other manageable conditions, then it is important that you watch your weight, maintain a healthy weight, and also look after yourself after surgery.
Before the surgery, make sure that you discuss proper genital hygiene and any safety steps you will need to take with your doctor. Also, understand about any potential signs of complications or side effects from your surgery or treatment.
- Crawford, B.S., 1977. Buried penis. British journal of plastic surgery, 30(1), pp.96-99.
- Chin, T.W., 2016. Buried penis. Formosan Journal of Surgery, 49(4), pp.133-135.
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