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"SAN DIEGO — Zippers are the most frequent cause of penile trauma among adults in the United States, with an estimated 2000 cases each year, according to a presentation here at the American Urological Association 2016 Annual Meeting.
For children, toilet seats are the leading cause, but zippers are "a close second," Lawrence Wyner, MD, a urologist at Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, reports in his meeting abstract.
The phenomenon even has its own acronym — ZIRPI, for zipper-related penile injury — and was first described in JAMA in 1936 (1936;107:809).
"Many urologists have seen at least one ZIRPI during their careers," Dr Wyner writes.
Risk factors for ZIRPI include being younger than 18 years and having an uncircumcised or insufficiently circumcised penis. "The contribution of 'going commando' (i.e., sans underwear) remains controversial," he writes.
The contribution of 'going commando' remains controversial.
Dr Wyner's presentation — entitled A Century of Urological Mayhem From Zippers — was part of the History of Urology session.
His efforts did not go unnoticed. "New favorite medical acronym, ZIRPI. See I learned something at #AUA16," tweeted Benjamin Davies, MD, a urologist from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania (@daviesbj).
The legal world views a penis caught in a zipper as being the fault of the male. "Consumer complaints involving zippers are almost exclusively related to either choking or asphyxiation hazards, and potential litigation involving ZIRPI is generally regarded as frivolous," says Dr Wyner."