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Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to: 

  1. Develop an understanding of the orientation of the penis.
  2. Identify the parts and erectile tissues of the penis.
  3. Identify the muscles and fascia of the penis.

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The penis is a male external genital organ which functions as part of the reproductive and urinary systems. It becomes erect to facilitate sexual intercourse, acts as a conduit for the passage of semen and facilitates the transport of urine from the urinary bladder to the external environment.

From proximal to distal, the penis consists of a root, body and glans which are composed of 3 erectile bodies: two bilateral corpora cavernosa and one median corpus spongiosum.

  • The root of the penis is made up of the bulb of the penis (proximal expanded part of the corpus spongiosum), the crura (sing.: crus, proximal tapering parts of the corpora cavernosa which are fixed to the ischiopubic rami) which are surrounded by the bulbospongiosus and ischiocavernosus muscles, respectively.
  • The body of the penis consists of the free portions of the corpus spongiosum (which contains the urethra), located ventrally, and corpora cavernosa found on the dorsolateral aspect of the penis.
  • The glans penis is formed by the bulbous extension of the corpus spongiosum distally.

Find out more about the structure of the penis in the video below!

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Key points about the penis
Parts Root (bulb of penis, crura, ischiocavernosus muscles, bulbospongiosus muscle)
Body (distal parts of corpora cavernosa and corpus spongiosum)
Glans (neck and corona of glans)
Erectile bodies Corpora cavernosa (x2), corpus spongiosum (x1)
Fascia Tunica albuginea, deep fascia of penis (Buck’s fascia) and superficial fascia/subcutaneous tissue of penis (Colles’ fascia)
Ligaments Suspensory and fundiform ligaments
Functions Reproductive: Becomes erect to facilitate sexual intercourse
Urinary: Passage of urine from urinary bladder to external environment

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