Purpose: The appropriate management of penile adhesions in circumcised boys is unclear. An important consideration is whether adhesions resolve spontaneously. We studied the incidence of penile adhesions as a function of patient age to assess the natural history.
Materials and methods: We evaluated all circumcised boys presenting to our pediatric urology clinic. A standard form was used to classify adhesions as grade 0-no adhesions, 1-fine adhesions to the corona, 2-adhesions covering less than 50% of the glans and 3-adhesions covering greater than 50% of the glans. All boys were evaluated by 1 of 2 pediatric urologists. Previous treatment of adhesions was assessed and skin bridges were also noted.
Results: We enrolled in our study 254 boys 1 month to 19 years 8 months old. Only 7 patients had a history of treatment of adhesion, of whom 3 had recurrent adhesions at evaluation. Patients were divided into groups based on age, including younger than 12 months (61), 13 to 60 (78), 61 to 108 (51) and 109 months old or older (64). In these groups we noted an adhesion rate of 71%, 28%, 8% and 2%, respectively. The rate of adhesions more severe than grade 1 was 30%, 10% and 0% in boys 12 months old or younger, 13 to 60 and 61 months old or older, respectively. The oldest patient with grade 3 adhesions was 31 months old. Skin bridges in 6 cases involved the circumcision line in 4.
Conclusions: Penile adhesions develop after circumcision and the incidence decreases with patient age. Although there is debate on whether to lyse these adhesions manually, our findings suggest that adhesions resolve without treatment. Based on our results we do not recommend lysing penile adhesions, except perhaps those involving the circumcision line.