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The Mysterious Case Of The Tiny Horn That Repeatedly Grew On One Man's Penis

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Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

clockSep 11 2018, 17:38 UTC

Yeah, I know. Photo by Kai/Shutterstock

According to a report from King George’s Medical University in Uttar Pradesh, India, a 60-year-old man appears to have a horn growing out the glans (head) of his penis. Abandon hope all ye who enter here for the very NSFW image ghastliness.

Apparently, this small cutaneous horn had appeared before, a month earlier, and it had been removed. This new one had grown back in the same place, and had reached a length of a couple of centimeters.

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The authors of the report note the man’s medical past, including his youth-based circumcision and his history of having urethroplasties – reparations of the urethra. He had also had no history of malignant penile growths. Bemused, they nevertheless removed the horn, excavating it to a deep-ish point to make sure nothing dangerous was growing beneath it.

Excision complete, the patient is now healing well and has experienced no more major changes. The horn phenomenon has not returned.

The clinical practitioners explain that the horn, which cannot yet be technically or formally diagnosed, has been observed before. It’s made of keratin, which is the same structural constituent that forms a major part of your hair and nails, among other things. Referencing previous studies, they note that such penile horns are benign most of the time, but are tending towards malignancy or are actively malignant 22-37 percent and 20-22 percent of the time, respectively.

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Hereafter, they explain that there are several factors that possibly play a role in its development, but it’s unclear which of them, from surgical trauma to radiotherapy, are more pivotal than others. They also note that, rather understandably, many who get them find them “bothersome” for many reasons, the least of which being that sexual intercourse becomes somewhat difficult.

In any case, without it being clear how hazardous or not such a horn may be to the patient, the general procedure is to have it removed. Patients are asked to check back in with practitioners for some time afterwards to make sure nothing malignant does spring up after the excision is performed.

So there you go: the latest in the line of awful, mildly enlightening biological gross-out tales, courtesy of the medical research realm. Now go and cleanse your brain.


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