Objectives: To investigate the physiopathologic mechanisms of the rupture of the corpora cavernosa by means of a histologic study of the tunica albuginea.
Methods: In 6 patients (age range 28 to 49 years, mean 38) with traumatic penile rupture, samples of the tunica albuginea were taken during corrective surgery far from the site of the lesion. These specimens were analyzed with light microscopy by the same pathologist and compared with other samples of tunica albuginea taken from 7 patients who underwent penile surgery for other reasons.
Results: Five of the 6 patients with traumatic penile rupture had histologic anomalies of the tunica albuginea (fibrosclerosis in all 5 patients [83%] and phlogistic cellular infiltrations composed of lymphocytes or histiocytes in 3 patients [50%]). Only 1 patient (17%) with traumatic rupture of the corpus cavernosum had a completely healthy tunica albuginea. None of the control specimens revealed any histologic alterations.
Conclusions: Structural anomalies could alter the mechanical properties of the tunica albuginea, representing a weakening factor of the corpora cavernosa and thus a predisposing factor for traumatic rupture of the penis. Therefore, patients with anomalous albuginea could undergo penile rupture even at intracavernous pressures inferior to pressures usually necessary to cause rupture in patients with healthy albuginea.