What is a penile fracture?
When you get an erection, blood fills the spaces in two tube-like chambers in your penis called the corpora cavernosa. This makes the corpora cavernosa swell, stretching the fibrous tissue that surrounds them, which is called the tunica albuginea. It’s the filling of the corpora cavernosa with blood, and the stretching of the tunica albuginea, that makes your penis hard1.
A penile fracture occurs if one or both corpora cavernosa rupture through the tunica albuginea when your erect penis is knocked or forced to bend.
Penile fracture is rare. The exact number of men who experience a fractured penis is unknown, but it probably occurs in 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000 men.
Symptoms of a penile fracture
When you fracture your penis, it can make a loud ‘snap’ or ‘pop’ and there is immediate pain. Bruising usually occurs quickly.
Causes of a penile fracture
Vigorous sexual activity is usually the cause of penis fracture2.
Diagnosis of a penile fracture
An examination is needed to diagnose penile fracture. An ultrasound scan may be needed to identify the site and size of the injury and find out if other structures within your penis are damaged.
Treatment of a penile fracture
A fractured penis usually needs to be repaired surgically, and the sooner this happens the better2,3 . Your doctor might recommend medication to prevent erections during this time.
Health effects of a penile fracture
You’ll need to go without sexual activity for about six weeks after surgical repair of a penile fracture. Some people become anxious about the possibility of a penile fracture happening again, which can affect their sex drive.
After surgical repair of the fracture, the shape of your penis might be different, or the quality of your erections might not be as good as it was. These complications can be treated.
What to do about a penile fracture
If you think you have fractured your penis, you should go to the emergency department at your local hospital.
Questions to ask your doctor about a penile fracture
- What will happen during surgery to repair my penis?
- Will my fractured penis cause problems with urination?
- Will my penis recover from this fracture?
 Cheng et al., 2020. A new method to quantify penile erection hardness: real-time ultrasonic shear wave elastography. Translational Andrology and Urology
 Haas et al., 1999. Penile fracture and testicular rupture. World Journal of Urology
 Sawh et al., 2008. Fractured penis: a review. International Journal of Impotence Research
Penis problems fact sheet