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Man Left With Whistling Scrotum After Surgery Gone Wrong

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Man Left With Whistling Scrotum After Surgery Gone Wrong

A man in the US was left with a 'whistling scrotum' after an operation went wrong.

The unnamed 72-year-old, from Ohio, turned up at A&E with his chief concern being the whistling scrotum, as well as shortness of breath and a swollen face.

An X-ray showed he had excessive amount of air trapped inside his chest, which caused his lungs to collapse and could have been fatal if left untreated, a report published in the American Journal of Case Reports said.

Credit: American Journal of Case Reports
Credit: American Journal of Case Reports

He also had air trapped inside his scrotum, which is a rare condition called pneumoscrotum.

Two plastic tubes were inserted into his chest to drain the excess air and he was then transferred to another hospital for further treatment.

However, his conditioned worsened - with the amount of trapped air increasing - and a third tube was inserted.

After a few days though, his lungs had recovered and he was discharged - but the whistling sack would persist for another two years, which was described as an 'abnormally long time'.


The man 'adamantly denied' injecting air into his scrotum, and doctors said nothing in his behaviour gave them any reason to doubt this.

The primary source of the whistling was identified as an open wound on the left side of his scrotum, from an operation to reduce swelling five months earlier.

"Whether the air escape attenuated the patient's presentation and led to a more favourable outcome will never be known," the report said.

Sadly though, the report noted that the patient would require further scrotal procedures and eventually required a bilateral orchiectomy - meaning he had both testicles removed.


The report concluded: "Pneumoscrotum is a rare clinical entity. When air is present within the scrotum, a prompt evaluation is required for source identification and stabilisation of the patient.

"Taking a detailed history of events leading up to the pneumoscrotum is essential since a significant percentage are of iatrogenic or traumatic origin. Our case of pneumoscrotum from suspected spontaneous bilateral pneumothoraces was unusual.

"Our patient had an open scrotal wound from a recent scrotal procedure, which allowed the air to escape from his abdominal compartment, and resulted in his concern of 'scrotal whistling'.

"Whether the air escape attenuated the patient's presentation and led to a more favourable outcome will never be known. Nonetheless, he was successfully treated with multiple chest tubes, subcutaneous air drains, and supportive care."

Featured Image Credit: American Journal of Case Reports/Alamy

Topics: Health

Jake Massey
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