Table of Contents
Definition of Paraphimosis
A condition in which the foreskin retracts onto the shaft of the penis and will not return to its normal position to cover the glans (tip of the penis). Paraphimosis can only occur in an uncircumcised man.
The foreskin swells and acts as a tourniquet, constricting the flow of blood and causing the shaft of the penis to engorge while cutting off the blood supply to the glans. Paraphimosis requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent damage, including gangrene that necessitates amputation, to the penis.
Treatment for paraphimosis includes measures to reduce swelling such as ice and compression dressings to the penis. Injection of hyaluronidase, an enzyme, often rapidly reduces the swelling (edema).
Once the swelling goes down the doctor may then gently manipulate the foreskin back over the glans. When these measures are inadequate, the doctor may make an incision through the foreskin to release it. The definitive treatment for paraphimosis is circumcision (surgical removal of the foreskin).
See also PHIMOSIS.
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