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What is buried penis?

buried penisBuried penis, also referred to as hidden penis, is a medical condition in which the penis is either partially or completely buried beneath the skin (or subcutaneous fat) of the scrotum and abdomen. Specifically, it is the shaft and glans of the penis that is hidden which is typically a normal length; it is not shortened such as a micropenis (abnormally small penis). Along with congenital and acquired causes, buried penis is becoming more common among morbidly obese men. This condition can have a negative impact on a man’s quality of life, affecting him both physically and psychologically.

Men with hidden penis oftentimes struggle with erectile dysfunction / sexual dysfunction, painful intercourse, low self-esteem or depression, urinary tract issues including obstructions, flow issues, urinary incontinence and dribbling, as well as urinary tract infections, skin infections and skin breakdown.

What causes buried penis?

Buried penis can be caused by both congenital and acquired factors. A congenital cause may include the abnormal development of the penile shaft. In addition, a large subrapubic fat pad, surrounded by rigid tissue, can trap the penis back in a hidden position.

There are several acquired causes that can lead to a hidden penis, the most common being obesity. When overlying subrapubic abdominal fat covers the penis, this can create a warm, moist environment that is hard to clean properly. This may contribute to bacterial or fungal growth, infection, lower urinary tract symptoms or obstruction and skin breakdown. This is exacerbated by urine that dribbles onto the penis head and scrotum during urination.

Additional acquired causes include:

  • Circumcision – If too much foreskin is removed, constriction and scarring can occur. This may cause the penis to become trapped in the remaining foreskin or pulled back.
  • Penoscrotal Lymphedema – A lymphatic obstruction that prevents lymphatic drainage resulting in the enlargement of the scrotum and penile shaft.
  • Infection – Ongoing scrotal infections can cause scarring that may contract the skin of the shaft leading to a buried penis.
  • Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans
  • Dysgenic Dartos

Treatment options

There are several factors that influence the treatment of buried penis. Basic factors include whether it is congenital or acquired, the overall health of the scrotum, penis and abdominal skin. Non-invasive techniques such as weight loss will not always cure a hidden penis, but will aid the doctor when surgery is required.

Surgical options are available and used to:

  • Correct scarring
  • Remove fat, excessive abdominal skin, or damaged skin
  • Remove the fat pad located above the pubic area
  • Manipulate ligaments
  • Expose the buried penis
  • Repair skin damage (including grafting skin to the shaft when necessary)
  • Penile reconstruction

Buried penis is a medical condition that can be successfully treated. While it’s important to correct the size and function of the penis, treating infections and skin damage is crucial. If you have this condition, contact Urology Austin to schedule an assessment with one of our Urologists.

Before and after photos

Dr. Kansas provided the following before and after photos from recent buried penis surgeries that he has performed.