If your pediatrician has diagnosed your son with webbed penis, chances are that you’re more than a little concerned. Take a deep breath, though, and read on. You’ll find out what causes this condition and how it can be treated.
What is webbed penis?
When the skin of a boy’s penis is fused to the skin of his scrotum, the penis is said to be webbed. Sometimes, the penis is attached directly to the scrotum; this is called complete webbing. In other cases, known as incomplete webbing, there is a membrane between the two parts. In cases of webbing, the penis is a normal size, but the condition makes it appear smaller than it really is. Therefore, this condition is classified as a type of concealed penis. Other names for a concealed penis related to webbing include penis palmatus, penoscrotal webbing and penoscrotal fusion. Left untreated, webbing may cause pain or difficulty during sexual activity later in life.
What causes a baby’s penis to become webbed?
This condition is usually congenital, in which case a baby is born with it. There are also instances in which too much penile tissue is removed during circumcision. This can cause a boy to develop penile webbing.
How is webbed penis treated surgically?
In cases where a membrane connects the scrotum and the penis, surgery can be performed to remove this excess skin. The procedure is relatively minor and can sometimes be performed on an outpatient basis with local anesthetic. If the webbing is complete, the surgery will be more involved. There are a few approaches available related to how an incision is made in the skin; your child’s doctor can provide details about the most effective approach for your child’s surgery.
How long does it take to recover from webbed penis surgery?
It usually takes about two weeks for a child to recover from penoscrotal webbing surgery. During this time, you should not let your son go swimming, climb on playground equipment or use bicycles or other riding toys. You must give only sponge baths for the first day or two after surgery. For the first week, your son’s baths should not last more than 10 minutes. Petroleum jelly must be applied to the surgical site multiple times a day. Some redness, bleeding and swelling are normal. Pain relievers can help your child feel comfortable during the recovery process.
Although penoscrotal fusion is treatable, your doctor may recommend delaying surgery for a specified period of time, especially if your child is an infant. Eighteen months is a commonly recommended age for this procedure. The process begins with a consultation, usually with a pediatric urologist. Together, you and the medical staff can formulate a treatment plan.