Thread embedded into penile tissue over time as an unusual hair thread tourniquet injury to the penis: a case report

J Med Case Rep. 2008 Jul 16:2:230. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-2-230.


Introduction: Hair thread tourniquet syndrome has been recognized since the 1960s. Since then, sporadic reports have appeared in the literature describing different degrees of strangulation and/or amputation of the penis caused by a hair thread being inadvertently tied around the penis.

Case presentation: A 9-year-old boy presented with a 3-year history of hair thread tourniquet injury to his penis. Instead of the usual strangulation or amputation, the tourniquet had become embedded into the penile tissue, manifesting with exuberant granulation tissue and a tight urethral stricture. At surgery, the intact tourniquet was still in place, embedded in dense fibrous tissue and associated with a dense urethral fibrosis which measured about 2 cm long. The tourniquet was divided and removed, the fibrotic urethra excised and a distal penile pedicled skin flap used to perform a single-stage substitution urethroplasty. The patient has been voiding well for 28 months.

Conclusion: This case is unusual and is the first report of its kind. It is also the first report of a hair thread tourniquet as the cause of pediatric penile injury in Nigeria.