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Urologist sued by N.J. man after implant surgery led to 8-month erection

A New Jersey man is suing his urologist for allegedly leaving him with an erection that lasted eight months following a surgical procedure.

"Dan is stuck in this position," Daniel Metzgar's attorney Michael C. Heyden told The News Journal.

Metzgar, a 44-year-old truck driver from Newark, N.J., filed a medical malpractice lawsuit in New Castle County Superior Court against his Wilmington, Del. doctor, Dr. Thomas J. Desperito, according to The News Journal. The case is being heard this week.

Metzgar had a surgical procedure to put in a three-piece inflatable penile implant in December 2009. The device consisted of two cylinders inside the shaft of the penis and a fluid reservoir in the abdomen that could fill the cylinders when pumped. The pump was located in Metzgar's scrotum.

Penile implants were first developed about three decades ago, according to 2011 article in the Journal of Surgical Technique and Case Report. The authors noted that one-third of erectile dysfunction (ED) patients do not respond to non-surgical treatments, and this may be a option for them. Only 50 percent of ED patients will be eligible for the procedure.

The surgery comes with risks. Mechanical failure, infection, erosion and other problems including the wrong length of the device or a change in position can occur.

Metzgar said he wanted the device to improve his love life, but it did the opposite.

"I could hardly dance, with an erection poking my partner," Metzgar told jurors on Monday.

Things started to go south when Metzgar's scrotum swelled to the size of a volleyball shortly after the procedure. However, he did not report anything was wrong until late April 2010, when he went back to his doctor complaining of an infection and a persistent erection.

Lawyers for Dr. Desperito told The News Journal that the urologist told Metzgar that the prosthesis needed to be removed at that time. They claim that the complications are part of the risks of elective surgery.

However, Metzgar lost his insurance and said he didn't have the $10,000 to complete the procedure that Dr. Desperito wanted. The doctor refutes that claim, and said he would have worked with Metzgar despite the lack of funds.

Instead, Metzgar wore long, baggy sweat pants and shirts to hid his erection. It was difficult to ride his motorcycle or complete every day tasks like bend over to get his newspaper.

"It's not something you want to bring out at parties and show to friends," Metzgar said on Tuesday to jurors.

The device was finally removed in August 2010 after a tube poked out from his scrotum during a family trip. He since has had a replacement prosthesis put in by another doctor, but scar tissue from the first procedure has left him 50 percent smaller, he claimed. In addition, he does not have the same level of sensation.

Metzgar and his wife are asking for unspecified damages.

WebMD has more information on penile implant surgeries.

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