Penile injuries from proximal migration of the Plastibell circumcision ring

J Pediatr Urol. 2010 Feb;6(1):23-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpurol.2009.05.011. Epub 2009 Jun 30.


Background: Although circumcision is the commonest surgical procedure performed on male neonates, complications still arise from all methods used by operators.

Patients and method: This was a prospective study of penile injuries resulting from proximal migration of the Plastibell device in neonate boys referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria. The parameters measured were patients' biodata, presentation, management and treatment outcome.

Results: Twenty-three injuries resulting from circumcision with the Plastibell device all occurred from prolonged retention of the ring. In each case, the ring was retained and had migrated proximally. There was extensive skin loss in 17 (74%) babies. Urethrocutaneous fistulae were the result in nine (39%) of these cases, while partial necrosis of the glans penis occurred in four (17%). These complications resulted from the use of wrong-sized Plastibell kits, lack of follow-up by the medical staff, and inadequate maternal knowledge of ring fall-out time.

Conclusion: Proximal migration of the Plastibell ring can result from employment of an inappropriate size, causing grievous penile injury. Adequate information should be provided to mothers of circumcised babies about possible complications of the Plastibell kit when employed. There is a need to redesign the Plastibell kit to eliminate its migration up the penile shaft.

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Male / instrumentation*
  • Foreign-Body Migration / complications*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Penis / injuries*
  • Prospective Studies