Circumcision is a common procedure that is often performed immediately following the birth of a male child, particularly in the United States and other Western countries. In the vast majority of cases, the circumcision heals without incident, with little more than a barely-visible scar.
However, in some cases, the incision may heal improperly, leading to complications such as penile adhesion. When this occurs, penis pain can ensue as the individual matures, and extra penis care measures may be necessary to resolve the problem.
What are penile adhesions?
A penile adhesion, also referred to as a skin bridge, occurs when the cut skin of a circumcision attaches, or adheres itself to the glans of the penis during healing. The result is a small strip of skin that extends from the shaft of the penis to the head. While this may not cause any issues in an infant or small child, the condition can become painful as the individual matures; the adhesion is not able to stretch and expand like the surrounding skin, and when erections occur, they can be accompanied by considerable penis pain.
When a circumcision is performed on an infant or small child, the doctor often recommends that parents apply Vaseline or a similar product to the area for at least the first two weeks. This should prevent the exposed tissue from attaching to the glans and forming an adhesion.
However, in a few cases, a skin bridge may form despite this measure, in which case parents should have their child evaluated by a medical professional to determine whether further treatment of the adhesion is necessary.
In recent years, the medical community has increasingly recommended against the routine circumcision of male children, citing lack of medical benefits and pointing to risks such as adhesions. However, in rare cases, even uncircumcised males may develop a skin bridge. In the end, the decision to circumcise or not is a personal choice that should be made by parents (or by the individual himself) based on the advice of a knowledgeable doctor.
Treating a skin bridge – to cut or not to cut?
In the past, doctors often advised parents to simply pull apart the adhesion on an infant’s penis and allow it to continue to heal. However, tearing the skin bridge apart can cause pain, bleeding and scarring, and the torn tissue may simply re-adhere, leaving the child with the same problem.
Currently, doctors are more likely to advise a “wait and see” approach; boys often correct the problem by themselves as they explore and pull on the penis. If the skin bridge does not resolve by puberty, doctors may prescribe a topical cream that can help the extraneous tissue to break down, and after a time, the adhesion should simply pull away.
In more severe cases, surgery may be considered as an option to break the adhesion. This may be done through conventional cutting, or laser surgery may be performed. Men are generally advised to wait until adulthood, when the penis is fully formed and mature, before undergoing surgery. Following the procedure, it is important to follow the doctor’s instructions for care; otherwise, recurrence is a possibility.
Extra support for stressed penis skin
For men who are dealing with a skin bridge, or even for those who are battling the everyday wear and tear that can be inflicted on a normal penis, a little TLC can tgo a long way toward creating healthier, more supple and attractive skin. It goes without saying that the penis should be kept clean, of course, and that protection should be used at all times during sex.
Men can also take this one step further by adding a penis nutrient formula (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) to their daily personal care regimen. A penis cream that is fortified with vitamins, amino acids and natural moisturizers is a good way to add strength and elasticity to the skin.