Penile Rupture


  • Penile rupture or fracture is a rare injury
  • It involves a tear in the lining (tunica albuginea) of the corpora cavernosa
  • It characteristically occurs with trauma to the penis during an erection
  • The patient typically hears a cracking or popping sound with immediate pain and detumescence (loss of the erection)
  • On physical exam swelling and bruising is quite obvious on the penis
  • The diagnosis can be made simply by the history and examination.


If there is any question radio contrast dye can be injected directly into the corpora cavernosum - extravasation outside the corpora confirms the Dx.


  • Corrective surgery should be done at the time of rupture
  • There is an associated urethral injury in 20% of cases. If the patient is unable to void, if blood is seen at the meatus or if there is haematuria, urethral injury must be ruled out by an injection of radio contrast dye into the urethra (retrograde urethrogram)

Content by Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan 04/07/2004. Reviewed by Dr ÍOS 26/05/2006, 26/05/2007. Last review Dr IOS 13/12/21.