Baby Born with Three Penises in World’s First

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Doctors in Iraq have reported the world’s first case of a baby born with three distinct penises, also called triphallia.

In 1609, Swiss doctor Johannes Jacob Wecker noticed something strange while examining a cadaver. He went on to report the world’s first case of diphallia, or duplication of the penis. Since then, around a thousand more cases of congenital anomaly have come forward. Now, a baby boy in Iraq is the first to be born with triphallia or three penises. Doctors believe it is the first recorded case in humans.

According to the case report, the child had presented at 3 months of age with scrotal swelling and two strange projections resembling penises. Examination revealed a hydrocele on the left and two supernumerary penises. One of which was 2cm in length. It was attached to the root of the penis and had a glans. The other was about 1cm and was located below the scrotum. Further investigation revealed that the other two penises lacked a urethra. Therefore, doctors decided to surgically remove the projections.

The treatment of this condition is difficult because it poses medical, ethical, and cosmetic aspects. A combined multidisciplinary team is usually required for the management and long term follow up is usually required.

study authors
Triphallia (triple penis), the first reported case in human
A preoperative picture showing the original and the two supernumerary penises.
Source: International Journal of Surgery Case Reports 77 (2020) 198–20

Diphallia Affects One in Every 5-6 Million Live Births

Although diphallia is extremely rare, it can pose great risks for the child. Firstly, it’s commonly associated with other congenital anomalies, such as spina bifida, cardiac anomalies, and pelvic bone anomalies. Moreover, infants with congenital anomalies have a higher death rate and shorter life spans.

According to the case report, a consultant urologist performed the surgery at 3 months of age. It involved excision of both the supernumerary penises. A follow-up at one year showed no adverse outcomes in the child. Doctors further advised parents to visit again at the time of puberty and before marriage.

The exact mechanism behind the condition remains unclear. Past research indicates that factors such as drugs and infections may play a role in the development of supernumerary penises. However, in the case of the patient, there was no history of drug exposure or family history of any genetic abnormalities.

Despite being born with three penises, the fact that the child had a good recovery and no other congenital anomalies is a promising sign.

Reference:

Jabali, Shakir Saleem, and Ayad Ahmad Mohammed. “Triphallia (Triple Penis), the First Reported Case in Human.” International Journal of Surgery Case Reports, vol. 77, 2020, pp. 198–200., doi:10.1016/j.ijscr.2020.11.008.

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