There are photos on Google Images better left unseen, says medical vlogger Dr. Karan Raj, M.B.B.S., and testicular degloving is high on his list.
In a recently Instagram post, Dr. Raj advises his nearly 400,000 followers not to search Googling images for 5 medical conditions. The list included bowel ischemia (when blood flow to your intestines decreases and limits intestinal function and they look like moldy beetroots) and open skull fracture (a break in your skull that exposes the underlying tissue similar to what The Mountain did to Oberyn’s head in Game of Thrones).
But his most disturbing is listed at number 2—testicular degloving.
“Testicular degloving it is exactly what it sounds like. The glove or skin around the testicles comes off,” Dr. Raj says.
What is Testicular Degloving?
Testicular degloving is a form of testicular trauma where the skin is torn off the tissue. In essence, the skin covering your testicles is completely removed, like a glove from a hand. Gulp.
Car accidents and industrial and agricultural accidents are the leading cause of testicular degloving—mishaps where skin can get caught in clothing and both are ripped off, according to a study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open. It’s also happened to at least one cyclist (1).
Two pieces of good news: Testicular degloving is mercifully rare, since your testicles are in an isolated position tucked close to your body. And since the skin separates on the surface, your penis usually escapes unscathed.
If the skin is ripped off your nuts, doctors can graft skin from other parts of your body to recover the testicle. Recovery can take a while, and patients may also need therapy to deal with the emotional trauma (2).
But yeah, like the good doctor recommends, it’s better if you don’t Google images of testicular degloving. Please, trust us.
Alkahtani, D.; et al. (2020). Traumatic Degloving Injury of Penile and Scrotal Skin: A Case Report.
Bhattarai, A.; et al. (2020). Peno-scrotal degloving injury following motor vehicle accident—a case report.