Phimosis: is circumcision necessary?

J Paediatr Child Health. 1996 Aug;32(4):285-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.1996.tb02554.x.


Circumcision has been the traditional treatment for phimosis, but now is not the only management option, the best of which appears to be topical steroid application. Importantly, the literature suggests that phimosis probably is over-diagnosed, indicating that a prospective, randomized controlled study is needed to compare the non-circumcision options. Such a study would require consensus on the diagnostic criteria for phimosis; therefore, a more exacting definition would be needed and is suggested. Despite the non-controlled data on medical treatment of true phimosis, there seems little doubt that surgical intervention is not needed for all male infants with adherence of the foreskin to the glans, a non-retractable foreskin or, indeed, true phimosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Circumcision, Male* / adverse effects
  • Circumcision, Male* / methods
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phimosis / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Glucocorticoids