Penis & scrotum


Molluscum contagiosum

Last author update: 1 February 2010
Last staff update: 27 October 2020

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PubMed Search: Molluscum contagiosum penis

Alcides Chaux, M.D.
Antonio L. Cubilla, M.D.
Page views in 2024 to date: 991
Cite this page: Chaux A, Cubilla AL. Molluscum contagiosum. website. Accessed May 19th, 2024.
Definition / general
  • In children ages 1 - 5 years, occurs commonly on almost all body sites, including trunk, arms and legs
  • In adults, is considered a sexually transmitted disease, often due to MCV2 virus
  • Caused by DNA poxvirus, which only infects humans
  • Spreads by skin to skin contact, autoinnoculation (spread to neighboring areas by touch), sexual transmission or by handling objects with the virus on them
Case reports
  • 65 year old HIV+ man with genital lesions appearing after institution of HAART therapy, as part of the immune reconstitution syndrome (Dermatol Online J 2007;13:6)
  • Usually resolves within months in people with a normal immune system
  • Virus lives only in lesions - once they are gone, patient is cured, unless reinfected
  • Treatment is similar to that for warts - cryotherapy, acid, electrocautery, curetting or laser therapy; also topical trichloroacetic acid, cantharidin, retinoic acid or imiquimod
Clinical images

Contributed by Harry Ioachim, M.D.

Multiple lesions on shaft of 30 year old drug abuser

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Lesions on shaft of penis

Skin lesions (site unspecified)

Gross description
  • 3 - 6 mm dome shaped pearly painless papule with central umbilication
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Prominent Henderson-Patterson (molluscum) bodies (intracytoplasmic eosinophilic inclusions containing virus particles) in keratinocytes of stratum spinosum and granulosum
  • Epidermal lobular acanthosis with inverted epidermal hyperplasia
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images

Henderson-Patterson bodies

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Henderson-Patterson bodies

Molluscum bodies

Cytology images

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Pap stain

Electron microscopy images

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Viral particles

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