09 October 2019

Man has tweezers removed from urethra after 4 years

If the thought of a foreign object in your urethra makes you cringe, rather skip this article...

If the thought of inserting something into your urethra makes you squirm, you are not alone. For most men, the idea of taking a swab from the urethra for medical procedures, or inserting a catheter up there is not pleasant, and foreign bodies inside the urethra are not often seen in a clinical urological practice.

However, a 22-year-old man made medical headlines after an 8cm pair of tweezers was removed from his urethra – after being there for four years.

How did they remove the tweezers?

The man, who remains anonymous, reported to a clinic in Saudi Arabia, “with a history of inserting a metal foreign body into his urethra four years ago”, but without suffering any pain prior to visiting the clinic.

Doctors found that the tweezers were inserted at least 7cm up the urethra from the end of the penis, but have no explanation for this incident. Removing the tweezers was an issue, as the sharp, open ends of this tool could easily have damaged the urethra while being pulled out.

Thankfully, doctors were able to remove the tweezers by applying pressure to the penis to bring the ends of the tweezers together and avoid destroying the urethra, according to the case published in Urology Case Reports. The doctors administered local anaesthesia, after which pressure was applied to the shaft of the penis and the tweezers pulled out.

The patient, however, recovered well and there was no reason for a urethral catheter to be inserted afterwards. The doctors did recommend a psychiatric evaluation, which the patient refused. The patient also didn’t attend any follow-up appointments.

The reason for the insertion of the tweezer remains unclear. Medical experts reckon that an incident like this can happen because of sexual curiosity, experimentation during masturbation or fetishism. Cases like this often go unreported for a while because of embarrassment, and people who do this might gain pleasure from it. Doctors strongly advise against this, as the frequent removal and insertion of foreign objects in and out of the urethra might cause injury and damage. 

How often does this happen?

According to a discussion in Urology Case Reports, this is not the first case of a foreign object being inserted into the urethra, but the use of a pair of tweezers is rare. Other weird things reported in the past include the insertion of fishhooks, hair pins, screws, wooden sticks, or even pens, but this is only the second time tweezers had to be removed from the urethra.

The verdict of this case? First of all, inserting foreign bodies up the urethra poses a great danger as it can cause serious injury. Secondly, while urethral foreign body extraction has been performed successfully in past cases, doctors would refer you for a psychiatric consultation to ensure that you don’t do it again.

Image credit: iStock


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Dr Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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