Circumcision The Medical Pros and Cons (cont.)

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What is phimosis?

Phimosis is a medical indication for circumcision. It is defined as "stenosis of the preputial ring with resultant inability to retract a fully differentiated foreskin." In other words, phimosis is present if the foreskin cannot be retracted at an age when it should normally be retractable.

How is phimosis treated?

Phimosis can be treated by circumcision or by surgical enlargement of the phimotic ring, the ring of tissue causing the phimosis.

What is paraphimosis?

Paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin, once retracted, cannot return to its original location. The foreskin is trapped behind the groove of the coronal sulcus. Paraphimosis causes blood to pool in the veins behind the entrapment, which induces swelling. The swelling leads to severe pain in the penis and makes it impossible to return the foreskin manually to its original location.

How is paraphimosis treated?

The foreskin, after lubrication, can sometimes be reduced. However, this works only if the paraphimosis is discovered very early. Because of the pain, the child has to have a short-acting general anesthetic or heavy sedation for the treatment. Paraphimosis may be treated by circumcision.

What is balanoposthitis?

Balanitis is inflammation of the glans, while posthitis is inflammation of the foreskin. Balanitis and posthitis generally occur together as balanoposthitis: inflammation of both the glans and foreskin of the penis.

What if an uncircumcised boy has phimosis, paraphimosis, or balanoposthitis?

Boys who are not circumcised as newborns may later have circumcision for the treatment of phimosis, paraphimosis, or balanoposthitis. When done after the newborn period, circumcision is considerably more complicated.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/5/2012