Resolution of post-circumcision penile adhesions in newborns

Published:December 21, 2021DOI:



      Penile adhesions are a common complication of neonatal circumcision and can cause significant distress to families. Although prior studies have suggested adhesions resolve with conservative measures, the information on the likelihood and time frame is not known. Alternatively, a lysis of adhesions (LOA) procedure can be performed in the office. The aim of the study was to determine the likelihood of spontaneous resolution with conservative measures at home.


      A retrospective review of patients with post circumcision penile adhesions that were referred to a pediatric urologist was conducted. Data regarding patient age, extent and severity of adhesions, chosen treatment modality (home-care with daily retraction versus LOA), improvement in subsequent visits, and final outcome of adhesions was obtained from chart review. Contingency tables, chi-square tests, or t-tests were used to assess statistical significance.


      429 patients were reviewed. The mean age was 28.2 months (range 1–152) and mean follow-up was 7.4 months (range 1–70). Adhesions were circumferential in 81% of patients and incomplete in 19%. Additionally, 64% of patients had adhesions that covered less than 50% of the glans penis, compared to adhesions that covered 50% or more in 36% of patients. After the initial visit, 66% of patients elected the home-care regimen, 89% of which were seen in follow-up visits. Only 36% of patients treated with the home-care regimen had completely or substantially resolved adhesions after a median of 6 months. Results showed a significant difference in success with home care depending on the circumferential extent of adhesions (p < 0.05), with patients whose adhesions covered less than 25% of the glans penis having the greatest likelihood of improvement. Effectiveness of home therapy also varied depending on the severity of adhesions (p < 0.05), with patients whose adhesions covered less than 50% of the glans having a higher chance of success. Most patients that initially chose the home-care regimen (65%) eventually elected to undergo LOA in the office. This study is limited by the retrospective nature, failure to control for potential confounders such as weight and the degree of participation at home, and the time frame after initiation of home therapy, which might have been insufficient for complete resolution of adhesions.


      Summary TableSuccess of home therapy according to the severity of adhesions.
      Severity of adhesions Not or minimally resolved Substantially or fully resolved Total
      Frequency (n) % Frequency (n) %
      ≥50% of glans 59 77.6 17 22.4 76
      <50% of glans 103 57.9 75 42.1 178
      p-value 0.002


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