Children's Hospital Colorado

Penile Adhesions and Penile Skin Bridges

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What is a penile adhesion?

Penile adhesions occur in circumcised boys when the penile shaft skin adheres to the glans (head) of the penis.

There are three types of penile adhesions:

  • Glanular adhesions: A glanular adhesion involves a connection between the shaft skin and the coronal margin, or an adhesion between the skin of the shaft and the head of the penis. These adhesions usually resolve on their own.
  • Penile skin bridges: A penile skin bridge occurs when part of the penile shaft skin heals to the edge of the head of the penis after circumcision.
  • Cicatrix: A cicatrix occurs when, after the circumcision, the surgical area contracts and the penis drops back into the pubic fat pad and becomes trapped.

What causes penile adhesions?

Some adhesions develop if the foreskin is not completely removed during newborn circumcision. Adhesions can also form as an infant grows and develops more fat in the pubic area (the area around the penis and scrotum). Penile skin bridges only occur after circumcision (typically newborn circumcision).

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