JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN T. ALESI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Penile nerve damage due to spinal defect. Labelled artwork of a sagittal section through a man's pelvic region, showing damage to the penile nerves caused by a defect in the L5 (fifth lumbar) vertebra. This pars defect (upper left) is a fracture of the pars interarticularis of the vertebral arch. The intervertebral discs either side are bulging. At right, the pressure this puts on the spinal nerves can have varied effects. In this case, it has affected the penile nerve path from the lumbosacral nerve root, through the cauda equina and sacral plexus, to the pudendal region to the penis (lower centre). This nerve innervates the perineum muscles and the genital skin.
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