Zipper-Related Penis Injuries: A Medical Concern of Modern-Day Men

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 6-2017


Although the separable fastener, marketed as the zipper, has become a necessary component of modern life, its convenience comes at a price: its attack upon the penis. Nearly 2000 US males sustain a zipper-related penis injury (ZIRPI) annually, and many of these accidents require emergency surgery. Nevertheless, the zipper has been tolerated quietly for 100 years on account of its unsurpassed ease of use.

A 2013 study in which data were extrapolated from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) showed that an estimated 17,616 patients presented to emergency departments with ZIRPI in the United States between 2002 and 2010.1 In this landmark research, the authors found that zippers are the most common cause of penile injury among men and are a close second to toilet seats among boys. Prior to this study’s publication, the literature on ZIRPI largely consisted of anecdotes or isolated case series from various medical centers.


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