A skin bridge that causes pain or discomfort should be corrected. These occur in circumcised males.
A penile skin bridge requires surgical excision as it is a thick skin attachment from the shaft of the penis to the head that will not resolve on its own and is actually more uncomfortable with penile growth as it causes pain due to the skin tethering.
What Exactly is a Skin Bridge?
In a circumcised male, penile skin bridge occurs when the circumcision incision heals improperly such that the shaft skin becomes permanently attached to the head of the penis called the glans. Although penile skin bridge can happen in infancy right after the newborn circumcision, a male may not notice it until he is older and feels a slight tugging when he has an erection.
How is a Skin Bridge Excised?
- To correct the skin bridge, it is cut away, or excised. This is a simple procedure that is done as an outpatient.
- If the procedure is done in the office, a numbing cream is applied and the skin bridge is gently cut away from the coronal margin.
- If the bridge is especially thick or has come farther up on the glans, surgery under general anesthesia may be required.
- A circumcision revision may be recommended if the patient has significant skin bridges.
Recovery from the Excision
- A full recovery of a skin bridge excision may take only a few days.
- An over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotic cream or ointment may be recommended.
- The patient, or the patient’s parents if he is very young, will be instructed on how to properly pull the penile skin to prevent the recurrence of the skin bridges.
If you notice an adhesion forming, it is important to try to gently pull it apart immediately. Vaseline can often be used to soften adhesions and prevent skin bridges from forming. If you are not sure if an attachment represents simple adhesion or a skin bridge, please see a doctor for evaluation.