Examining penile sensitivity in neonatally circumcised and intact men using quantitative sensory testing

1 February 2016

The study is assessing penile sensitivity in circumcised and intact men by testing tactile and thermal thresholds at control site and few penile sites. The results demonstrate that circumcision procedure does not influence penile sensitivity and suggest that the foreskin is not the most sensitive part of the penis.

 Neonatal circumcision is quite a widely used procedure, which causes a lot of debates on topic of its pros and cons. Among the potential benefits of the procedure is, for example, reduction of urinary tract infections, protection against sexually transmitted infection, etc. One of the concerns related to neonatal circumcision is a possible influence on sexual function, in particular, reduction of penile sensitivity.

The aim of this study was to assess penile sensitivity of neonatally circumcised and intact male by comparing the functionality of their peripheral nerves. For that purpose 30 circumcised and 32 intact men were recruited ant tested with QST protocol, which included assessing of tactile and pain thresholds by von Frey filaments and warm detection and heat pain thresholds by Medoc’s TSA device with small, 5×5 mm thermode used. The testing was performed on neutral site (wrist) and on 3-4 penile sites.

The findings of the study demonstrated that neither of the tested parameters differed with respect to circumcision status, meaning the neonatal circumcision is not associated with penile sensitivity decrease. The findings are important and may influence the decisions of the male-babies parents and policy makers on topic of neonatal circumcision.