Prepuce: phimosis, paraphimosis, and circumcision

ScientificWorldJournal. 2011 Feb 3:11:289-301. doi: 10.1100/tsw.2011.31.


Phimosis is a condition in which the prepuce cannot be retracted over the glans penis. Actually, physiologic phimosis is common in male patients up to 3 years of age, but often extends into older age groups. Balanoposthitisis a common inflammation occurring in 4-11% of uncircumcised boys. Circumcision is generally undertaken for three reasons: first, as an item of religious practice, typically neonatally although occasionally transpubertally, as a rite of passage; second, as a prophylactic measure against future ailments for the reduction in the risk of penile cancer, urinary tract infection, and sexually transmitted infection; and third, for immediate medical indication. Balanitisxeroticaobliterans is an infiltrative skin condition that causes a pathological phimosis and has been considered to be the only absolute indication for circumcision. Various kinds of effective alternatives to circumcision have been described, including manual retraction therapy, topical steroid therapy, and several variations of preputioplasty. All of these treatments have the ability to retract the foreskin as their goal and do not involve the removal of the entire foreskin. Paraphimosis is a condition in which the foreskin is left retracted. When manipulation is not effective, a dorsal slit should be done, which is usually followed by circumcision.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Male*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paraphimosis / diagnosis*
  • Paraphimosis / physiopathology
  • Penile Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Penile Diseases / physiopathology
  • Phimosis / diagnosis*
  • Phimosis / physiopathology