[Prepuce in boys and adolescents: what when, and how?]

Med Pregl. Jul-Aug 2012;65(7-8):295-300. doi: 10.2298/mpns1208295d.
[Article in Serbian]


Introduction: The prepuce envelops the glans as a variant of a mucocutaneous tissue presenting with a lot offunctions, the most important of them being to protect the infant's glans from feces and ammonia in diapers, to protect the glans from abrasions and trauma throughout life, and to provide sufficient skin in erection. Circumcision was recognized as a method of solving foreskin problems a long time before Christ. Practicing male circumcision in history was customary several thousand years ago and has spread worldwide. Today it depends on races, and it is often an initiation ceremony near the age of puberty. In everyday practice in pediatric urology outpatient department the foreskin problems have been noticed as a phimosis in 9.91% cases and prepuce adhesions in 3.98%. Congenital anomalies are present in different numbers. Other problems, such as paraphimosis, balanoposthitis, are recorded as accidental cases. Over-all prepuce pathology can be observed in 12%-25% of patients. The article presents a review of foreskin conditions, clinical manifestation, therapy and arguments for patient's benefits.

Clinical presentation: The term phimnosis describes a foreskin that is unable to retract. It is necessary to distinguish normal anatomic situation in neonate and infantile period, when prepuce has not been separated yet from true pathologic phimosis due to fibrosis and sclerosis. Up to six years of age the tip of the prepuce is elastic and might be retracted by gentle manipulations. In cases when the foreskin is trapped behind the glans penis and cannot be pulled back to normal position, paraphimosis is present and can be treated as a medical emergency by manual manipulation, or by dorsal slit (incision). Many studies have demonstrated that frequency of urinary tract infection increases in uncircumcised males and that is a reason for routine circumcision. The others are against routine circumcision. The contraindications are newborns, especially prematurely born. and congenital penile anomalies. Condition in which the frenulunm of penis is short with consequent restriction of movement of the prepuce can be easily treated by frenulotomy. Hooded prepuce is a condition of incomplete circumferential formation of foreskin with a dorsal component present and ventral component absent. In cases without any penile anomalies this is only a cosmetically unattractive appearance and could be corrected by circumcision. Infection of the foreskin due to bacterial colonization could be both prevented and treated easily However, an infection due to peno-preputial incisions in adolescent age is serious and has to be cured promptly.

Conclusion: As a part of external genitalia, the foreskin has a lot of functions. Despite its natural role many advocates routine circumcision due to problematic condition that can develop. Routine circumcision is not generally recommended. Improved education for physicians and parents with regard to the foreskin development and management is required.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Circumcision, Male*
  • Foreskin / abnormalities
  • Foreskin / surgery
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Phimosis / surgery
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control