Phimosis of infants and young children in Japan

Acta Paediatr Jpn. 1997 Aug;39(4):403-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200x.1997.tb03605.x.


The prepuce and glans was examined in 4521 healthy infants and young children with a birthweight over 2600 g. There were 3238 infants aged 1-12 months and 1283 children aged 3 years. There is no custom of circumcision in Japan. The term phimosis implies the adhesion of the prepuce and glans, which cannot be separated by manipulation. Phimosis was found in 88.5% of infants aged 1-3 months, and the corresponding figures at the ages of 4-6 months, 7-9 months, 10-12 months and 3 years were: 74.4, 63.9, 58.0 and 35.0%, respectively. However, cases where the prepuce could be retracted by gentle manipulation were found in 3.0% of infants aged 1-3 months, 19.9% of those aged 10-12 months and increased to 38.4% of children aged 3 years, which exceeded the rate of phimosis. The complete adhesion of prepuce and glans was found in many infants, and a small space between the prepuce and glans was observed in some cases of 3-year-old boys. The smegma was notable in only 16 cases (0.5%) of infants and in 5 cases (0.4%) of the 3-year-olds. Balanopothitis was found in only one case of the 3-year-olds. It is not recommended to separate the foreskin by manipulation, which sometimes leads to bleeding or paraphimosis. And it is not necessary to surgically correct phimosis in infancy and early childhood except in the case of accompanying urological disturbance.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Phimosis* / epidemiology
  • Phimosis* / pathology
  • Phimosis* / therapy
  • Smegma