The inconspicuous penis in children

Nat Rev Urol. 2015 Apr;12(4):205-15. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2015.49. Epub 2015 Apr 7.


The term 'inconspicuous penis' refers to a group of anatomical abnormalities in which the penis looks smaller than is expected. Micropenis can be defined as 'true micropenis'--which results from a defect in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis--and 'micropenis secondary to congenital anatomical anomalies of the surrounding and overlying structures'--also known as 'concealed penis'. The different forms of concealed penis include webbed penis, congenital megaprepuce and partially hidden penis caused by prepubic adiposity. This disorder can also have iatrogenic causes resulting from adhesions that are secondary to circumcision--this type of concealed penis is known as 'trapped penis'. However, in both groups, micropenis is defined as a stretched penile length that is at least 2.5 SD below the mean for the patient's age, but without any other penile defects. Patients with true micropenis can be managed with testosterone, which has demonstrated good penile elongation results in the long term. Surgery also has a pivotal role in reconstruction for elongating the penis and for correction of anatomical abnormalities in concealed penis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Male / adverse effects
  • Genital Diseases, Male / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Ligaments / embryology
  • Male
  • Penis / abnormalities*
  • Penis / embryology
  • Penis / surgery
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures
  • Sex Differentiation / genetics

Supplementary concepts

  • Penis agenesis