Adult Acquired Buried Penis: A Hidden Problem in Obese Men

Cureus. 2021 Feb 1;13(2):e13067. doi: 10.7759/cureus.13067.


Buried penis is a condition where the penis is hidden by abdominal or suprapubic skin or fat. In adult men, buried penis occurs as an acquired condition most commonly caused by morbid obesity. The clinical characteristics of three obese men with adult acquired buried penis are described and the associated features of the buried penis are reviewed. In addition to morbid obesity, a buried penis can result from other etiologies, such as hidradenitis suppurativa, iatrogenic causes such as elective surgeries, infections, lichen sclerosus, penoscrotal lymphedema, and traumatic events. Lower urinary tract symptoms, such as voiding, and post-voiding problems are the most common presenting complaints; however, bacterial and fungal infections, phimosis, psychological issues, and sexual dysfunction, are also buried penis-related symptoms. The evaluation of a man with adult acquired buried penis begins with a detailed history for condition-related symptoms. Examination of the patient, both standing and supine with an attempt to demonstrate the penis using digital compression of the surrounding skin and fat, should be performed to determine the extent of the problem and whether comorbid conditions-such as infection and lichen sclerosus-are present. Both buried penis and lichen sclerosus can predispose to the development of penile squamous cell carcinoma; the diagnosis of this tumor can be delayed in men with adult acquired buried penis since an adequate penile examination is difficult or impossible. A multidisciplinary approach-including surgeons, primary care physician, registered dietitian nutritionist, and psychiatrist-should be considered for a patient with a buried penis. The surgical management is individualized and based on not only the extent of the problem but also whether an associated condition, such as urethral stricture, is present. Most patients are pleased with the functional and aesthetic outcome following surgery.

Keywords: acquired; adult; buried; genital; hidden; men; obesity; penis; rejuvenation; scrotal.

Publication types

  • Case Reports