A child from Uttar Pradesh, India, was born with three penises and no anus.
While that may sound unbelievably suspicious like a tabloid headline that has emerged from a stretched truth and Chinese whispers, doctors who operated on the two-year-old child in Sion Hospital have spoken to the media about his condition.
The boy suffers from Diphallia. At birth, he had three penises, but he was able to pass urine through only one of them,” said Dr Paras Kothari, head of pediatric surgery at Sion Hospital, according to Daily News and Analysis.
Although he could only use one of the penises to urinate, two of them had erectile tissue – three masses of expandable, sponge-like tissue involved in penile erection – while the third was undeveloped and non-functional.
While diphallia – duplication of the penis – is exceedingly rare, affecting around one in every six million births, the condition is commonly associated with other abnormalities, such as gastrointestinal defects or double bladder. And this boy was no exception, devoid of an anus and thus unable to pass feces normally.
So, to correct the latter problem, the boy had to undergo a surgical procedure two years ago called a colostomy.
This involves bringing the colon through an opening made in the abdominal wall from which stools can be collected into an attached bag, Dr Vishesh Dixit, a pediatric surgeon at the hospital, told Daily News and Analysis.
In an attempt to free the child from his colostomy bag, last month surgeons at Sion Hospital created a path through his rectum to facilitate the passage of stools through a newly-fashioned anus. In addition, his rudimentary penis was removed, along with a bony mass of tissue to which his penises were attached. Finally, they forged a penis from the two more-developed penises by fusing them together. Impressively, the whole procedure only took six hours.
Although the boy will still have to use his colostomy bag until he has healed sufficiently, doctors at the hospital reportedly said that neither sexual function nor fertility should ultimately be affected.