Clinical characteristics and surgical outcomes of penetrating external genital injuries

Marc A. Bjurlin, Dae Y. Kim, Lee C. Zhao, Cristina J. Palmer, Matthew R. Cohn, Patricia P. Vidal, Faran Bokhari, Courtney M P Hollowell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Penetrating external genital injuries, although uncommon, may present complex problems for the urologic and trauma surgeon. A paucity of data exists on the incidence, clinical characteristics, and management outcomes of these injuries because few institutions have the volume to report their experience. Methods: Penetrating external genital trauma presenting from 2004 to 2011 was retrospectively reviewed. Patient characteristics, operative and nonoperative management, and outcomes were analyzed while validating current guidelines. Surgical management is described in detail, and overall incidence and trends were calculated. Results: A total of 28,459 trauma patients were reviewed, of which 8,076 sustained penetrating injuries and 162 sustained penetrating external genital trauma. Penetrating external genital trauma was 0.57% of all trauma and 2.0% among penetrating trauma. Gunshot wounds accounted for the most common mechanism of injury (93%). Injury to the scrotum occurred in 78% and of these injuries, 63% resulted in a testicular injury, with bilateral testicular injuries occurring in 8%. Testicular reconstruction was performed in 65%. Penile injuries occurred in 28%, and urethral injuries occurred in 13%. For penile injuries, 62% were explored immediately. Urethral injuries were managed by immediate primary urethral repair (43%) or urinary diversion with delayed reconstruction (57%). In total, nonoperative management was performed in 26% of scrotal and 38% of penile injuries. The incidence of penetrating external genital injuries has remained constant during our study period, averaging 20.2 cases per year (R2 = 0.99). The testicular salvage rate varied from 55% to 75% per year (R2 = 0.06). Conclusion: Penetrating external genital injuries occur at an incidence of 0.57% where scrotal injury from gunshot wounds is the most common form. Testicular preservation is possible in the majority of testicular injuries. Penile injuries were less likely to require surgical exploration compared with scrotal injuries likely because physical examination is better at confirming only superficial injury. Select patients with superficial scrotal or penile injuries may undergo nonoperative management with minimal morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-844
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • External genitals
  • Penetrating
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical characteristics and surgical outcomes of penetrating external genital injuries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this