Phimosis and Circumcision: Concepts, History, and Evolution

Document Type : Narrative Review


1 Federal University of Piauí, Piauí, Brazil

2 Federal University of Paraná, Paraná, Brazil


Phimosis is classically characterized by the impossibility of completely withdrawing the foreskin and exposing the glans. A distal preputial narrowing occurs, which may be congenital or acquired. Excess foreskin and the presence of balanopreputial adhesions may be components of this spectrum. Circumcision corresponds to foreskin excision, one of the most commonly performed surgeries in boys, whether for medical or religious reasons. Such a procedure is considered sacred by many peoples around the world as a symbol of faith or even as a ritual of tribal emancipation. The appearance of the procedure in several places and times allowed the development of the surgical technique, today adapted to minimize complications and provide evident medical benefits. We present fundamental physiological and histological concepts, classically described, knowing the natural history of a potential disease. We discuss the emergence and development of surgical techniques still used today and identify factors that interfere with the disease and influence the treatment.


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