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Frenulum breve, or short frenulum, is a condition in which the frenulum of the penis, which is an elastic band of tissue under the glans penis that connects to the foreskin and helps contract it over the glans, is too short and thus restricts the movement of the foreskin. The frenulum should normally be sufficiently long and supple to allow for the full retraction of the foreskin so that it lies smoothly back on the shaft of the erect penis.
The penile frenulum is comparable to the tongue's frenulum between the tongue's lower surface and the lower jaw, or the frenulum between the upper lip and the outside of the upper gum.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Frenulum breve may be complicated by tearing of the frenulum during sexual or other activity and is a cause of dyspareunia. It may lead to erroneous labelling of the sufferer as having psychosexual problems. The torn frenulum may result in healing with scar tissue that is less flexible after the incident causing further difficulties. However, this tearing can also solve the problem, healing such that the frenulum is longer and therefore no longer problematic. The diagnosis of frenulum breve is almost always confused with that of phimosis and a generally tight foreskin, since the symptom is difficulty retracting the foreskin. Most men with phimosis also have frenulum breve to a certain extent.
The condition may be treated with surgery. There are several different techniques to treat this condition. Threading a suture through the lower membrane, and then tying a tight knot around the frenulum itself is a procedure that minimises invasive action. After a few days the frenulum will weaken and eventually break apart to allow the prepuce to fully retract. Other procedures involve the cutting of the skin and require the use of sutures to help in the healing process. Stretching exercises and steroid creams may also be helpful. Alternatively, it may be treated by a reparative plastic surgery operation called a frenuloplasty, or by complete circumcision including resection of the frenulum (frenectomy).
The word "frenulum" is a diminutive of the Latin word "frenum," which means "bridle." "Breve" is Latin neutral for "short."
- Whelan. Male dyspareunia due to short frenulum: an indication for adult circumcision. BMJ 1977; 24-31: 1633-4
- "Tight Foreskin". Retrieved 1 September 2012.
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