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Phimosis treatment: Circumcision for a Tight Foreskin

If the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head (glans) of the penis, in medical terms, this is known as Phimosis. All boys are born with a tight foreskin, and Phimosis is completely normal in babies and toddlers. As they grow, the foreskin stretches, allowing it to be retracted when cleaning the penis, however, this doesn’t always happen and Phimosis treatment may be required.

Causes of Phimosis

The foreskin is attached to the glans at birth by a thin layer of skin, By the age of 3, this thin layer will usually have disintegrated, allowing the foreskin to fully retract over the glans. In some cases, dead tissue from this inner skin can build up, leading to irritation, swelling and tightening of the foreskin. This condition is called Balanitis.

For children above the age of ten, it is unlikely that Phimosis will be resolved without intervention. If the foreskin is tight, this can lead to a number of problems, including difficulties cleaning the glans and ballooning when urine builds up and is unable to pass through a tight foreskin opening.

When Phimosis makes it difficult to clean the glans, this may lead to the inflammation of the glans and foreskin, known as Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans or BXO. The warm and moist area between the foreskin and glans provides an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, leading to infection. BXO can lead to itchy white scarring at the tip of the foreskin. Without treatment, this condition can be extremely painful; the scar like process of BXO can lead to the skin breaking or cracking.

In some cases, whilst the foreskin can be retracted when the penis is flaccid, if it cannot retract when the penis is erect, this can lead to discomfort, or may even lead to skin tearing. 

Is circumcision a solution for Phimosis treatment?

If there is a partial tightness of the foreskin, this may be treated by a topical cream combined with regular retraction of the foreskin to help stretch and relax the skin. However, if these techniques do not work, and Phimosis causes pain and discomfort, then circumcision may be the solution. If Phimosis leads to recurrent Balanitis, whilst antibiotics can be taken to fight infection, circumcision is usually the best treatment to prevent this problem in the long term. 

Circumcision procedures

For older boys and adults, circumcision is usually carried out under local anaesthetic. Depending on the patient’s choice:

  • a complete circumcision may be performed, where all of the foreskin that covers the glans is removed, or 
  • a partial circumcision may be carried, where the cut is made in the elastic area of the foreskin, but some foreskin is left to cover the glans.

Circumcision for Phimosis

At Modality Circumcision Service in Birmingham, we provide circumcision for patients of all ages, from throughout the UK and Europe. If you feel that circumcision is right for you or your child, our blogs provide information on circumcision procedures and aftercare.

To book your circumcision or to ask further questions about circumcision for Phimosis, please call 0121 250 0386.