The three-month-old baby from Dohuk City was taken to hospital by his parents because he had a swelling in his scrotum. The examination revealed that the skin projections were two other penises.
While one, about 2 cm long, was attached to the root of the normal penis, the other, about 1 cm long, was under the scrotum. Despite the rarity of this congenital disease, the child was fine on a follow-up visit a year after surgery, according to a report published in the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports last November.
Extra penises without urethra
Doctors were able to effectively remove the two additional penises because they did not have a urethra. Otherwise it would have been more difficult. As Science Alert reports, the level of development of these additional phalluses changes from patient to patient.
“Patients with excess penises have a unique appearance and no case is the same,” the report said. In the case of the little Iraqi boy, the two abnormal organs included erectile tissue called the corpora cavernosa, which fills with blood during erection, as well as a tissue called the cancellous body and the urethra, the tube through which it supports urine passes.
A world first
This case is considered to be the world’s first documented case of triphallia. “Triphallia (triple penis) is a previously unreported disease. It affects one in 5 to 6 million births. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case, ”said doctors Shakir Saleem Jabali and Ayad Ahmad Mohammed, authors of the scientific article on the subject. John Martin, professor of anatomy at the University of St. Louis Medical School, who was not involved in the case study, said he did not know much about the causes of this congenital disease. Rare.
Genetic mutations. Photo Credit: Shutterstock / ANN PATCHANAN
Nevertheless, Professor Martin and his colleagues have already had to deal with a case of diphallia (double penis). The deformity affected a man who died in 2000 at the age of 84 and who donated his body. The subject had two normal size phalluses with a urethral opening between them at their base.
He also had two children. However, doctors do not know whether the latter are biological children or those created by artificial reproductive techniques. The genetic tests they definitely performed revealed multiple mutations in genes known to be involved in genital development.
It turns out that abnormalities in the genes of the eyelashes have also been observed in other cases of birth defects. However, scientists don’t know if there are genetic links between diphallia and triphallia.