Adult circumcision: A little off the top, please

By Bob Sassone

By Salon Staff
Published August 16, 2000 7:23PM (EDT)

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In actuality, preputial stenosis (aka phimosis, not "phymosis"), describes any condition in which the foreskin does not retract, regardless of pain during erection or problems urinating. Thus, Bob Sassone's condition falls under this label as well.

In the past 20 years, several alternative treatment options for phimosis have emerged, including surgical procedures other than radical circumcision (dorsal slit, preputial plasty), and topical steroid ointment. I find it unfortunate that Sassone didn't locate this information online during his research, or have the good fortune to be treated by a urologist who wasn't tied to the standard circumcision dogma. He very well might have been able to treat his phimosis and keep his foreskin intact. Several studies have found success rates of over 75 percent for the first line treatment, topical steroids.

I encourage people encountering this problem to push for the non-radical treatments as the first line; you may very well be able to avoid the cost and risk of surgical procedures. (It's worth noting that circumcision has the highest rate of complications of all of the surgical treatment options, despite the hand-waving of Sassone's surgeon.)

The best overall starting resource for such information that I have found is CIRP's Web page on phimosis.

-- Michael Handler

Just in case you're worried about sexual repercussions from your recent circumcision, I don't think you have to be. I know three men who were circumcised in adulthood. Two of them said sex felt exactly the same after being circumcised, and one said it felt BETTER.

-- Earl Hartman

Salon Staff

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