Penile adhesions can occur naturally in young boys who are not circumcised. Adhesions can also result from a procedure such as circumcision. If skin around the head of the penis is not retracted as a circumcision heals, skin adhesions may form that prevent the penis from moving freely within its skin.
In infants and young children, the foreskin adheres to the penis and will be able to be retracted later as the child develops. Your pediatrician or urologist can advise on normal milestones for your child. In some boys, white bumps of skin cells form beneath the foreskin. These bumps are called smegma and are the body’s natural way of releasing penile adhesions.
Penile skin bridges can also form after circumcision. These occur when part of the penile shaft skin heals to the edge of the head of the penis.
A specialist from Lurie Children's Division of Urology will complete a physical exam, including a visual inspection. They will assess the severity of the adhesions and recommend the best treatment options for your child. Adhesions can be uncomfortable but usually resolve naturally or when a steroid cream is regularly applied. In cases of dense or numerous adhesions, surgical correction may be recommended by your specialist to release the adhesion. Penile skin bridges are treated by surgical correction. If surgery is recommended by your child’s urologist, this is typically a brief outpatient procedure done under general anesthesia.
If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®).