Something up his sleeve

A teenager fries his penis and gets a new one -- on his arm.

Published September 11, 2001 7:47PM (EDT)

Looks like it's OK to pee on that electric fence after all. A Russian teen whose penis had to be amputated after he urinated on a live wire is now on his way to an impressive, if not full, recovery. All he had to do was grow a replacement penis on his arm.

After the 16-year-old's organ was "horribly burned," the U.K. Sun reported, doctors got to work immediately. The young man -- identified only as Malik -- was equipped with a rubber tube on the side of his arm. Not entirely unlike ivy, his arm skin began to grow around the implant.

With one extremity hosting another, Malik sat back as the flesh made its way up the expandable tube. The ascent took about 10 months, and at the end, doctors severed the whole thing, removed the tube and attached the makeshift member to its final home.

The operation wasn't just cosmetic, either: The Sun reports that some sophisticated flesh plumbing has allowed Malik to once again urinate properly (and far from electrical wires). It's even possible he'll have a full sex life down the road.

Penile reattachment has gone from cottage industry to increasingly common surgical procedure. Far more often than electrocution, enraged spouses and lovers precipitate the operation. A string of reports from Thailand in recent years revealed an alarming number of angry severances and patient reconstructions -- 300 in just two decades at Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital alone. The arm penis is just one of many treatment techniques, and is generally considered best-suited for those who like to wear their emotions on their sleeve.

By Chris Colin

Chris Colin is the author most recently of "Blindsight," published by the Atavist.

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