Does Circumcision Increase Meatal Stenosis Risk?-A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Urology. 2017 Dec:110:16-26. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2017.07.027. Epub 2017 Aug 4.


Context: Meatal stenosis (MS) as a potential complication of male circumcision and controversy regarding the magnitude of risk.

Objectives: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analyses to assess (1) MS diagnosis after circumcision, (2) the potential association of MS with circumcision, and (3) a potential method of prevention.

Data sources: PubMed, Google Scholar, Cochrane Library and bibliographies of original studies were searched using the keywords circumcision and stenosis or stricture.

Study selection: Studies containing original data on MS following circumcision at any age.

Data extraction: Two reviewers independently verified study design and extracted data.

Results: Thirty eligible studies were retrieved. A random effects meta-analysis of 27 studies (350 MS cases amongst 1,498,536 males) found that the risk of MS in circumcised males was 0.656% (95% confidence interval 0.435-0.911). Meta-analysis of 3 observational studies that compared MS prevalence in circumcised and uncircumcised males found non-significantly higher prevalence in circumcised males (odds ratio 3.20; 95% confidence interval 0.73-13.9). Meta-analysis of 3 randomized controlled trials investigating the effect of petroleum jelly application to the glans after circumcision found that this intervention was associated with MS risk reduction (relative risk 0.024; 95% confidence interval 0.0048-0.12).

Conclusion: MS risk after circumcision is low (< 1%). Weak evidence suggests that MS risk might be higher in circumcised boys and young adult males. Risk is reduced by petroleum jelly application. Further research on MS arising from lichen sclerosus in older uncircumcised males is needed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Male / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Urethral Stricture / etiology*