healthHealth and Medicine

Anxiety-Inducing Medical Case Of “Penile Strangulation” Has A Happy Ending


Tom Hale


Tom Hale

Senior Journalist

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

Senior Journalist

Let your imagination run free. Fribus Mara/Shutterstock

This is a cautionary tale involving a penis, a sex toy, a trip to A&E, firefighters, and an angle grinder. You have been warned.

A new case report in the Irish Medical Journal explains how a man went to the emergency department at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin complaining of pain in his penis and scrotum. It turned out that he had put a “titanium penoscrotal constriction device” onto his penis seven hours previously. In layman's terms, that’s a cock ring – a sex toy that consists of a metal or plastic ring placed around the base of the penis, used to slow down the flow of blood leaving the penile tissue and therefore maintain an erection for longer.  


For one reason or another, his penis and testicles got stuck in the ring, causing them to painfully swell, thus making the situation even stickier. Doctors dosed the unlucky man up with ketamine, fentanyl, and propofol to relieve any pain and began to attempt to remove the device. However, their bolts and bone cutters were not strong enough.

Stumped for ideas, they were forced to call the fire brigade. They ended up using an angle grinder power tool to cut off the ring while doctors ran cool water over the area to make sure it didn’t overheat.

“Protective fire protection sheets were used to protect the patient and staff from sparks,” the report notes.

After a 20-minute procedure, he was freed. Luckily he’s now gone on to make a fully functional recovery and sustained no long-term damage.


This is surprisingly not a solitary occurrence. The doctors note another case involving an even larger thick metallic ring causing constriction for over 48 hours at the Royal Free Hospital in London, as originally documented in the British Medical Journal.

Luckily, his story also had a happy ending.

According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, injuries from sex toys has steadily risen since the 1990s. Around 83 percent of these injuries were presented in the form of “foreign body removal” and men accounted for around 53 percent of the total injuries, the Washington Post reports. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of injuries doubled to over 2,500. Multiple news outlets at the time picked up on the fact that Fifty Shades Of Grey was published just before a spike in 2011.

Sex toys are a dangerous business, it seems. Have fun and stay safe out there.




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