What is a partial circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis. It is one of the oldest forms of surgery and has been practised for millennia as a religious and cultural rite.

However, there are different types of circumcision, including partial circumcision.

A partial circumcision is a less invasive form of circumcision that involves removing as little of the foreskin as possible. It is often performed on men who require circumcision of medical reasons but may not want to be ‘fully’ circumcised.

Differences between a partial and normal circumcision

The key difference with a normal circumcision is the amount of foreskin that is left after the surgery is performed. As only the minimum is removed, men with partial circumcisions are normally left with a semi-functional foreskin that covers some or most of the penis glans.

In fact, some men with partial circumcisions do not look circumcised at all, as they have enough foreskin left covering their penis that they can pass as uncircumcised.

What are the benefits of partial circumcision?

A partial circumcision can be beneficial for men who would like to keep as much of their foreskin as possible and do not want to have their penis head fully exposed.

Whilst penis sensitivity before and after circumcision remains a hotly debated topic with no clear scientific consensus, it is true that the foreskin contains many nerve endings. By removing the foreskin you also remove these nerve endings, which some men may feel contributes to their sexual pleasure.

A partial circumcision also allows more movement of the foreskin during sex and masturbation, whereas fully circumcised men may prefer to use lubrication to masturbate.

What are the disadvantages of partial circumcision?

Despite its apparent benefits, partial circumcisions tend to be performed less often than full circumcisions.

One disadvantage is that they often do not adequately treat underlying issues, particularly in cases of phimosis or balanitis.

For this reason, the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) recommends against partial circumcision in men with phimosis, saying that “scarring may return in the foreskin remnant and the cosmetic results, particularly during erection, are often unacceptable.”

Other draw backs include that it is that it is not as effective as full circumcision in reducing the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV. Whilst circumcision by itself is not an effective means of HIV infection, studies show that it does reduce rates of transmission. Partial circumcision, on the other hand, does not offer the same level of protection.

So, whilst partial circumcision is a less invasive form of circumcision that removes less of the foreskin, it is not always as effective for medical issues. If you are considering partial circumcision it is best to discuss it with your urologist or surgeon who will be able to advise you on your specific problem.

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