Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Crimes Below the Belt: Penile Removal and Castration

Reattached?

Criminal acts involving the forcible removal of one's penis or testicles are rare. However, when it does happen the media is quick to sensationalize it because it is such a cruel and gruesome action that few can fathom. Many violent castrations and penile removals are self-inflicted, usually by men who are mentally instable. Many more instances of forcible genitalia removal occur in times of war as a form of torture and humiliation. Very few cases involve acts of revenge on one's partner or are carried out in self-defense.    

Many who have been lucky to survive such a horrific experience never regained the full use of their organ. Yet, with recent advances in penis replantation (reattachment) microsurgery, the sex lives of men who've suffered severe genital trauma and amputation are slowly being restored. The fact is, the better the condition of the amputated parts at the time of the operation, the higher the success rate. If too many hours elapse between the time the penis is severed and reattachment, there is less of a chance that the operation will be successful because of tissue death. If the severed penis has been immediately packed in ice after the trauma, there is a reduced chance of this occurring.

Replantation of the testicles is an extremely rare procedure. In many cases the testicles can be reattached, yet the sperm production is often severely hampered. There is a greater success rate of a full recovery if the testicles are replanted within a relatively short period of time following the initial trauma. If at least one of the testes remains after a criminal castration, the victim will likely be able to produce enough sperm to have children. Thus, there is less need for replantation of the other organ, except for esthetic purposes.

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