Original Article | Volume 17 Number 1: 0 | 15 Mar 2022

Primary care of preputial adhesions in children – a retrospective cohort study

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Aside from religious circumcisions, the indications for circumcision are few. However, in the cultural context, many patients are unnecessarily referred for circumcision for physiological phimosis (adhesions). Due to parental concerns and misperceptions by general practitioners, nonretractile prepuce is one of the most common indications for referral to a paediatric surgeon in many countries. This study aimed to determine whether preputial adhesiolysis successfully managed symptomatic non-retractile foreskin and therefore prevented the need for circumcision.
Methods: A retrospective review was performed of the health records of children who presented with preputial adhesion. We included 65 symptomatic patients (ballooning of the prepuce in all cases and additional dysuria in three cases) who underwent preputial adhesiolysis. All cases were followed up for 2 years. Circumcision was subsequently carried out for patients who developed fibrous scarring resulting in difficult retraction due to the development of thick adhesions or skin fissuring with persistence of symptoms.
Results: Of the 65 boys, 58 (89.2%) achieved complete retraction of the prepuce. The remaining 7 boys (10.8%) presented with recurring symptoms and thick fibrosed prepuce, and they underwent circumcision due to the dense adhesions. Histopathological examination of the circumcised prepuces revealed balanitis xerotica obliterans in two cases.
Conclusion: Preputial adhesiolysis is a safe and effective treatment for symptomatic preputial adhesions in boys younger than 5 years old. The procedure avoids circumcision and its associated risks. Preputial adhesiolysis should be offered as a primary treatment instead of circumcision.

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