Effect of neonatal circumcision on penile neurologic sensation

Urology. 2005 Apr;65(4):773-7. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2004.11.007.


Objectives: To evaluate penile sensory thresholds in neonatally circumcised and uncircumcised men.

Methods: We evaluated 125 patients, 62 uncircumcised men and 63 neonatally circumcised men. All patients completed the Erectile Function domain of the International Index of Erectile Function questionnaire. Of the 125 patients, 29 (International Index of Erectile Function score of between 25 and 30) were placed in the functional group, and 96 in the dysfunctional group. The patients were tested on the dorsal midline glans of the penis (foreskin retracted). Quantitative somatosensory testing was performed and included vibration, pressure, spatial perception, and warm and cold thermal thresholds.

Results: In the functional group, t-test analysis demonstrated a significant (P <0.001) difference, with worse vibration and better pressure sensation for uncircumcised men. When controlling for age, hypertension, and diabetes, all t-test significance was lost. In the dysfunctional group, circumcised men (49 +/- 16 years) were significantly younger (P <0.01) than uncircumcised men (56 +/- 13 years). For the dysfunctional group, t-test analysis also demonstrated worse vibration sensation for uncircumcised men (P <0.01). Again, when controlling for age, hypertension, and diabetes, all t-test significance was lost.

Conclusions: We present a comparative analysis of uncircumcised and circumcised men using a battery of quantitative somatosensory tests that evaluate the spectrum of small to large axon nerve fiber function. Our study controlled for factors, including age, erectile function status, diabetes, and hypertension, that have been shown to alter neurologic testing. In our study of neonatally circumcised men, we demonstrated that circumcision status does not significantly alter the quantitative somatosensory testing results at the glans penis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Circumcision, Male / adverse effects*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Penis / innervation
  • Penis / physiopathology*
  • Sensation*