Peyronie’s disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the tunica albuginia, which is a thick fibrous tissue that surrounds the paired smooth muscle erectile bodies in the penis called the corpora cavernosa. The condition was first described by the French surgeon, Francois Peyronie in 1743. Peyronie’s disease is a common condition that usually affects men between the ages of 40 to 60, but it can occur at any age.
Although the cause of Peyronie’s disease is usually unknown, trauma to the penis can cause Peyronie’s disease. During intercourse, if the penis misses the target and ‘snaps’ against the partner’s pelvic bone during pelvic thrusting, the tunica albuginia can be torn. If the tunica albuginia is disrupted, the body heals the area by layering dense scar tissue over the torn area. Scar tissue is inflexible. Consequently when an erection occurs, the scarred portion of the penis doesn’t expand like the rest of the penis. Accordingly, the penis bends in the direction of the scar tissue since the rigid scar tissue prevents symmetrical expansion of the penis. The degree and direction of curvature is a function of the size, location, and density of the scar tissue.
Penile cancer is rare in the United States. The prevalence is 0.2/100,000. In the US, African American males are affected twice as often as Caucasian males. Penile cancer is rare before age forty. The peak incidence is age seventy-five. Circumcision protects against the development of penile cancer. Under certain circumstances, several types of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) and two skin conditions called lichen sclerosis and leukoplakia may increase the risk of developing penile cancer.