Doctors at a New York City hospital made an alarming discovery last week when a 63-year-old man went to the emergency room for knee pain.
The man reportedly decided to visit Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center when he began feeling pain after he fell on the sidewalk while walking with a cane, according to an article that will be published in the September issue of Urology Case Reports.
Since the man had fallen on his butt, the doctors took an x-ray of his pelvic region and noticed something unusual. The authors, most of whom work for Lincoln Medical, wrote that images showed an “extensive, plaque-like calcification along the expected distribution of the penis.”
The patient complained to the doctors of penile pain, but he didn’t have discharge, a swollen prostate, or other clear penis-related symptoms.
As doctors would later discover, his penis was literally turning bone-like because of a rare condition.
Penile ossification is caused by calcium salt buildup in the penis’s soft tissue. The authors wrote that there are less than 40 published case reports of penile ossification. A 2017 report from Reviews in Urology documents the case of a 43-year-old man who sought medical help after pain in his “mid-shaft” area spread to his “entire shaft.” Doctors initially removed fibromas, or fibrous benign tumors from his penis. A few months later, the patient decided to have an inflatable penile prosthesis implanted because he’d been experiencing erectile dysfunction, and doctors found “what appeared to be calcified tissue along 80% of the shaft.”
The doctors determined that their patient had Peyronie disease, or penile fibrosis. According to the authors of Urology Case Reports study, the 63-year-old patient who went to Lincoln hospital also likely had Peyronie disease, but they weren’t able to make a certain diagnosis. The patient left without getting tests or treatment, according to the paper, even though he had ossification along his “entire shaft.”
“We couldn’t assess the following etiologies [cause] since our patient decided to leave against medical advice,” the authors wrote.