Foreskin problems



Many men with foreskin problems are routinely offered circumcision,  when either non-operative techniques or less invasive surgery with foreskin preservation can give excellent results.


Part of the reason for this may be cultural, and some doctors are simply unaware of the alternatives that do exist.


The foreskin seems to exist for two reasons, firstly to protect the special soft skin on the head of the penis (probably enhancing sensitivity), and as an erogenous zone in its own right. In particular there is evidence that there are specialised pressure and stretch sensors in the tip of the foreskin.


For men with tight but non-scarred foreskins it is usually possible to either gently stretch the foreskin (done at home) or carry out some widening or lengthening procedures under local anaesthesia.


If the foreskin is badly scarred (particularly with a condition known as "Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans" or "BXO" ) then removal may be the only realistic solution.  Similarly circumcision may be the best option for men with chronic inflammation of the foreskin or penis, or in the rare cases of pre-malignant change of the penis skin.


While it is in general better to have a foreskin than not, no foreskin is better than a bad foreskin!


For  a man living in the developed world with a normal foreskin, there is no scientific or medical reason for male circumcision that stands up to scientific analysis. We do not therefore carry out social or religious circumcision in children below the age of consent, although are happy to offer the procedure to adults.


There is information in the links below and one link goes to the charitable website Norm-UK which many of my patients have found extremely helpful in the past but which I have no direct connection with and thus cannot formally endorse.


Advice Service for Men with Foreskin Problems

Men, particularly if they have not had other options discussed, are often unsure as to whether they may be able to avoid a circumcision. It is often possible to give an provisional idea on this if a good quality digital photograph of the end of the penis and frenulum is sent (please no more than 2MB total image size!). While we are happy to offer this as a free advisory service please note that it is impossible to give a formal opinion by email and any advice given in the absence of a consultation cannot be regarded as a basis for any modification of treatment or advice offered by other doctors. It is not possible to offer any advice by email unless patient images are available.


Patient information


Foreskin Stretching (external link)


Preputial Plasty

Review article for GP's. (pdf file)


The advice in this web site is made freely available for general use. The facts and opinions stated cannot however be taken as valid or safe for any individual patient unless specifically instructed by Mr Muir.

Copyright (c) 1999-2001 GH Muir. All rights reserved.