Last week, a 63-year-old man walked into a New York City hospital with what he expected to be a routine check on hip pain he had from a fall.
Upon receiving an x-ray, doctors discovered that he was in fact suffering from the "exceedingly rare" condition of penile ossification.
His penis was turning into an "extraskeletal bone", the doctors say in their report.
An alarming diagnosis
In the initial x-ray, doctors were looking for fractures in the patient's hip area - the man had fallen on the sidewalk.
Instead, they made an alarming and incredibly rare diagnosis. The man's penis was building up a bone-like calcification - he was suffering from penile ossification.
As the doctors describe it, there was evidence of “extensive, plaque-like calcification along the expected distribution of the penis.”
Essentially, calcium salts had accumulated in his soft tissue along his penile shaft, as can be seen in the x-ray image below.
As per the Urology Case Report, the patient showed no other symptoms typical of this condition, such as discharge or swelling.
Unfortunately, for the man himself as well as for medical researchers, no further examinations were carried out on the patient. He decided to leave the hospital, ignoring the medical advice of doctors. No treatment was administered for his condition.
An extremely rare condition
While the condition is "exceedingly rare" - only 40 cases have been recorded - treatments do exist. In the case report, the doctors say that "medical and surgical treatment options exist depending on the extent of ossification and symptoms.
As Science Alert reports, the most common cause for penile ossification is Peyronie's disease, which sees fibrous scar tissue form within the penis. Other causes are trauma, end stage kidney disease, and other conditions that cause a calcium build-up in the body.