Phimosis and Paraphimosis

Dear Dr. Reed,

What is the difference between phimosis and paraphimosis?  Which is worse?


Dear Lenny,

On our web-site we have photographic examples of both.  Paraphimosis is worse because the penis is in danger of strangulation by a phimotic ring (the constricted ring associated with phimosis).  Usually this can be reduced in the emergency room by continued pulling out the distal skin of the penis and simultaneously using the thumb or thumbs to push the glans inward.  Then the patient is converted back to phimosis which is not an emergency.  A phimotic ring is part of fetal, new born, and infantile development.  Over time the ring stretches and usually stays stretched and becomes retractile either way.  If as an adolescent phimosis still persists, my recommendation would be to have it surgically removed. Yes, we are talking about a circumcision although you could have a preputioplasty and keep your foreskin.

Hoping this is of help,

Harold M. Reed, M.D.
The Reed Centre for Ambulatory Urological Surgery – Miami



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