Skip to main content

Health Encyclopedia

Search the Health Encyclopedia

Paraphimosis

Definition

Paraphimosis occurs when the foreskin of an uncircumcised male cannot be pulled back over the head of the penis.

Causes

Causes of paraphimosis include:

  • Injury to the area.
  • Failure to return the foreskin to its normal location after urination or washing. This is more common in hospitals and nursing homes.
  • Infection, which may be due to not washing the area well.

Men who have not been circumcised and those who may not have been correctly circumcised are at risk.

Paraphimosis occurs most often in boys and older men.

Symptoms

The foreskin is pulled back (retracted) behind the rounded tip of the penis (glans) and stays there. The retracted foreskin and glans become swollen. This makes it difficult to return the foreskin to its extended position.

Symptoms include:

  • Inability to pull the retracted foreskin over the head of the penis
  • Painful swelling at the end of the penis
  • Pain in the penis

Exams and Tests

A physical exam confirms the diagnosis. The health care provider will usually find a "doughnut" around the shaft near the head of the penis (glans).

Treatment

Pressing on the head of the penis while pushing the foreskin forward may reduce the swelling. If this fails, prompt surgical circumcision or other surgery to relieve swelling will be needed.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome is likely to be excellent if the condition is diagnosed and treated quickly.

Possible Complications

If paraphimosis is left untreated, it can disrupt blood flow to the tip of the penis. In extreme (and rare) cases, this may lead to:

  • Damage to the penis tip
  • Gangrene
  • Loss of the penis tip

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Go to your local emergency room if this occurs.

Prevention

Returning the foreskin to its normal position after pulling it back may help prevent this condition.

Circumcision, when done correctly, prevents this condition.

References

Elder JS. Anomalies of the penis and urethra. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 544.

McCammon KA, Zuckerman JM, Jordan GH. Surgery of the penis and urethra. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 40.

McCollough M, Sharieff GQ. Genitourinary and renal tract disorders. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 174.

Review Date:1/30/2017
Reviewed By:Jennifer Sobol, DO, urologist with the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) and this website do not claim the information on, or referred to by, this site is error free. This site may include links to websites of other government agencies or private groups. Our Agency and this website do not control such sites and are not responsible for their content. Reference to or links to any other group, product, service, or information does not mean our Agency or this website approves of that group, product, service, or information.

Additionally, while health information provided through this website may be a valuable resource for the public, it is not designed to offer medical advice. Talk with your doctor about medical care questions you may have.

Health Outcome Data

No data available for this condition/procedure.

Health Encyclopedia

More Features

We Appreciate Your Feedback!
1. Did you find this information useful?
         Yes
         No
2. Would you recommend this website to family and friends?
         Yes
         No