ZIPPER BITE... OUCH!!
What To Do If Your Zipper Gets Caught
On Your Penis
Usually a child has dressed too quickly and not
wearing underpants, accidentally pulled up penile skin into his zipper.
The skin becomes entrapped and crushed between the teeth and the slide
of the zipper, thereby painfully attaching the article of clothing to
the body part involved (most often the penis or less often the area
beneath the chin).
What to do:
- Paint the area with a small amount of povidone-iodine
and infiltrate the skin with 1% lidocaine (plain). This will allow the
comfortable manipulation of the zipper and the article of clothing.
- Cover the area with mineral oil. This lubricates the
moving parts and often frees the skin without having to cut the
- If the mineral oil alone does not work, then cut the
zipper away from the article of clothing to leave yourself with a less
- Cut the slide of the zipper in half with a pair of
metal snips or an orthopedic pin cutter. The patient is less likely to
be frightened if this procedure is kept hidden from his view. If you
are unable to break the two halves of the zipper slide apart using a
metal cutter, then take two heavy duty surgical towel clamps and place
their tongs into the side grooves at both ends of the slide. then grip
one clamp firmly in each hand and then twist your wrists in opposite
directions. This often will pop the two halves of the zipper slide
apart, releasing the entrapped skin.
- Pull the exposed zipper teeth apart, cleanse the
crushed skin, and apply an ointment such as povidone-iodine.
- Tetanus prophylaxis should be administered as needed.
What not to do:
- Do not cut clothing if mineral oil releases the
- Do not destroy the entire article of clothing by
cutting into it. You only need to cut the zipper away allowing repair
of the clothing.
- Do not excise an area of skin or perform a
circumcision; it only creates unnecessary morbidity for the patient.
- Nolan JF, Stillwell TJ, Sands JP: Acute management of
the zipper-entrapped penis. J Emerg Med 1990;8:305-307.
- Kanegaye JT, Schonfeld N: Penile zipper entrapment: a
simple and less threatening approach using mineral oil. Pediatric
Emergency Care 1993;9:90-91.
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