Man, 81, with dementia strangles his own penis to death with rubber bands for three days

An elderly dementia patient strangled his own penis after wrapping rubber bands around it and leaving it on for three days.

The unidentified 81-year-old had to undergo emergency surgery in Chicago after the skin on the tip of his member started to rot.

Yellow and purple spots began to appear on both the shaft and base of his penis due to the lack of blood supply.

Doctors claimed his penis could have fallen off if doctors hadn’t removed the bands when they did.

The African-American man, whose horrific case was published in a medical journal, was originally hospitalized due to complications from his diabetes.

His wife drew the medics’ attention to the rubber bands, which she said her husband had refused to remove for two to three days.

Doctors at the University of Chicago Medical Center operated to prevent further degradation.

Dead tissue was removed using a hot wire and scalpels and antibacterial lotions were applied while he recovered for five days.

An 81-year-old man with dementia strangled his own penis with rubber bands in Chicago, Illinois

A catheter — a tube inserted through the urethra — was used to drain the urine that had accumulated in his bladder because he was unable to urinate.

He recovered well from the surgery, but did not return for a follow-up appointment two weeks after leaving the hospital.

The patient had originally gone to the hospital after diabetic ketoacidosis – a potentially lethal reaction to low insulin levels.

When doctors asked him about the rubber bands, the man seemed confused.


Penile strangulation is a rare but often dangerous medical emergency that occurs when an object or body part blocks blood flow to the penis.

In the worst case, the lack of blood flow can lead to gangrene and tissue death – penile necrosis.

Doctors have devised a rating system to indicate the severity of strangulation:

Grade 1: Edema of distal penis.

Grade 2: Skin lesion and narrowing of the corpus spongiosum, but no evidence of urethral damage. Distal penile edema with decreased penile sensation.

Grade 3: Injury to skin and urethra but no urethral fistula. Loss of distal penile sensations.

Grade 4: complete division of the corpus spongiosum, leading to urethral fistulas and narrowing of the corpora cavernosa, with loss of distal penile sensations.

Level 5: gangrene, necrosis or complete amputation of the distal penis.

Early surgical intervention is needed once

His penis was severely swollen and the tip was beginning to change color and shape. The skin was breaking down and had become gangrenous.

The authors of a case report published in Urology case report said the man’s diabetes exacerbated the damage from the rubber bands.

The bands restricted his blood flow and caused tissue damage, which was compounded by the already poor circulation flow from his diabetes.

They said, ‘The patient in our case presented with diabetic ketoacidosis and a probable history of uncontrolled diabetes.

‘The ischemic damage from strangulation, exacerbated with poor blood supply to the ischemic tissue of the underlying diabetic vascular disease, can lead to progression to a necrotic or gangrenous state.

“In this case, the best treatment is early surgical intervention and debridement that can slow disease progression and reduce morbidity.”

dr. Fardod O’Kelly, a urological surgeon at Beacon Hospital in Dublin, told MailOnline that the man’s penis could have fallen off if the bands had been left in place for too long.

He said: ‘Fortunately, strangulation cases like this are rare.

‘The veins and lymphatics are very easily compressed by an increase in local pressure. This leads to severe pain and swelling.

‘An organ like the penis can probably tolerate this for a few hours (if you don’t pass out from the pain), but eventually the pressure becomes too great and the arteries become compressed as well.

“This is important because the arterial compression means no blood flowing in, and that means no oxygen supply, so the organ starts to die.

“In theory, the penis can fall off if you leave it long enough, but I’ve never seen that happen.”

Penile strangulation is a rare but dangerous emergency in boys and men of all ages, often associated with sexual acts and sometimes mental illness.

It occurs when an object or hair cuts off blood flow from the penis, resulting in swelling and, in the worst cases, necrosis and gangrene.

Doctors have determined a five-point scale to describe the degree of damage caused by strangulation.

It ranges from low levels of swelling to tissue death and the complete loss of the tip of a penis.

In this case, the man was first on the lower end of the scale, before his symptoms worsened to level three: injury to the skin and urethra, but no urethral fistula — an abnormal connection between the urethra and bladder — and loss of sensation.

The authors caution that physicians should assess patients’ medical background to determine whether early intervention is needed to prevent symptoms from worsening.

Vascular and blood flow conditions can exacerbate the effects of strangulation, requiring early surgery to save the organ.