A patient in South Australia lost part of his genitals after a rare disease led him to develop penile gangrene.
The patient, who was not identified in a case report published in BMJ Journals, developed calciphylaxis of the penis. Calciphylaxis, as per the Mayo Clinic, is a “serious, uncommon disease in which calcium accumulates in small blood vessels of the fat and skin tissues.”
The condition typically causes blood clots, skin ulcers, and can also lead to serious, potentially deadly infections such as gangrene, or the death of tissue typically caused by a lack of blood supply.
Ther 43-year-old patient had obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. Obesity and diabetes can both increase the risk of someone developing calciphylaxis, according to the Mayo Clinic, which noted the disease more commonly affects those in end-stage kidney failure.
As for the patient, doctors in the report said the man’s kidney disease led to calciphylaxis because “his organs were unable to properly filter calcium from his blood,” the New York Post, citing the study, reported. He eventually developed penile gangrene as a result, leaving doctors no choice but to leave him with a "penile stump" after the tip of his penis was removed.
Penile calciphylaxis, according to one 2018 case study, has an overall mortality rate of 64 percent. Most patients who develop it die within 2.5 months.
Miraculously, however, doctors were able to save the man, and the part of his penis that was amputated was later reconstructed with skin grafts made from the foreskin, as per the Post. Later on, however, the man developed calciphylaxis in his large intestine, forcing doctors to remove part of it.