A 15-year-old boy was hospitalized after inserting a USB cable into his penis in a highly dangerous attempt to measure its length, according to a new case report.

The boy, who lives in the UK, showed up at the emergency department of his local hospital with an unusual problem. As well as having a knotted USB cable inserted some distance into his penis, numerous attempts to remove it himself had led to him losing quite a lot of blood in his urine.

“The two distal ports of the USB wire were found to be protruding from the external urethral meatus whilst the middle part of the knotted wire remained within the urethra,” doctors wrote in Urology Case Reports.

“The patient was an otherwise fit and healthy adolescent with no history of mental health disorders.”

Once his mother was out of the room, he confessed to the doctors that he had inserted the cable into his urethra “to measure the length of his penis”, using a cable rather than an external ruler out of sexual curiosity.

The team attempted to remove the cable via rigid cystoscopy — essentially pushing a metal rod up the penis in an attempt to draw out the cable — and an optical urethrotomy, surgically widening the urethra. Both attempts failed to get the cable out, due to the knotting, seen in the X-ray below. Imaging the cable situation showed that surgery was necessary.

The bunched cable prevented doctors from merely yanking it out. Image credit: Urology Case Reports (CC by 4.0)

“A longitudinal peno-scrotal incision over the palpable foreign body was made and careful dissection was undertaken through deeper tissues, splitting the bulbospongiosus muscle,” the authors wrote. In layperson’s terms, they cut open the region between the base of his penis and his anus.

“Both ends of the wire were pulled out successfully through the external urethral meatus.”

The patient recovered well following the surgery and was discharged shortly afterward. He will require monitoring by doctors, and presumably near chargers.

In the discussion, the doctors note that such cases are quite unusual in day-to-day urology, though they are by no means unheard of.

“The insertion of a wide variety of objects has been documented,” they write, including “needles, pins, iron wires [and, oh god] pistachio shells”.

Usually, cases are associated with intoxication, mental disorders and, as this case highlights, sexual curiosity.

“No evidence of psychiatric disorder was existing and the “experimentation” in context of autoerotism was noted as the cause of insertion,” the authors wrote. “This constituted another case of sexual curiosity resulting in a challenging urological emergency.”

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