The Inconspicuous Penis.

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Analysis of 19 cases seen over a period of 2 years by chart review.


Children's hospital in a major metropolitan area.


Nineteen boys referred to two pediatric urologists over a period of 2 years with penises that appeared abnormally small, but on palpation and measurement, were found to have a normal shaft with a normal stretched length. Diagnoses included were buried penis, webbed penis, and trapped penis. Patients ages ranged from 1 week to 13 years.


There were eight patients (42%) with trapped penis, and all were complications of circumcision (age 1 week to 7 months). Of nine (47%) patients with buried penis, two had been circumcised prior to diagnosis. One (5%) patient had webbed penis and one (5%) had combined buried and webbed penis.


Six trapped penises were surgically repaired, and two resolved spontaneously. Five patients with buried penis had surgical repair, and two are being followed up for probable repair at age 9 to 12 months. Two were not repaired because of medical conditions or parental concerns. The webbed penis was surgically repaired as was the combined buried and webbed penis. The repairs were all successful and had no complications.


Inconspicuous penis encompasses a group of conditions in which the penis appears small but the shaft can be normal or abnormal in size. Circumcision is contraindicated in these patients until they have been evaluated by a urologist. Further study is needed to determine the natural history of these disorders and to better define which patients will benefit from surgical intervention and at what age. Pediatrics 1993;92:794-799; inconspicuous penis.

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