Purpose: We studied the fine architecture of the tunica albuginea of the penis.
Materials and methods: The study included 6 human male cadavers and 10 surgical patients (5 with Peyronie's disease and 5 with normal penile anatomy).
Results: The tunica albuginea of the corpora cavernosa is a bi-layered structure with multiple sub layers. Inner layer bundles support and contain the cavernous tissue and are oriented circularly. Radiating from this layer are intracavernous pillars acting as struts, which augment the septum and provide essential support to the erectile tissue. Outer layer bundles are oriented longitudinally. These fibers extend from the glans penis to the proximal crura, where they insert into the inferior pubic ramus. There are no outer layer fibers between the 5 and 7 o'clock positions. Elastic fibers normally form an irregularly latticed network on which collagen fibers rest. In Peyronie's disease the well ordered appearance of the collagen layers is lost: excessive deposits of collagen, disordered elastic fibers and fibrin are found within the region of the plaque.
Conclusions: The normal 3-dimensional structure of the tunica affords great flexibility, rigidity and tissue strength to the penis, which are lost consequent to structural changes in Peyronie's disease.