This site discusses phimosis in its specific forms of phimotic ring, frenulum breve, adhesions or skinbridges. During erection these conditions inhibit the relationship between foreskin and glans. This functionally restricts the erection, and thus has an effect on the sexuality. With our culture's attitudes on health care, it would be appropriate to monitor boys before puberty and encourage early prevention.

2012 : note from author: My previous idea of monitoring boys before puberty is impractical, unecessary and now only of historical interest. please see Postscript.

Photo Index
These pages are contributed to by Harmen

Pictures of the Frenulum
Pictures and Explanation of Tying Up the Frenulum
Pictures and Explanation of Frenuloplasty


The frenulum (also: fraenulum or frenum) connects the foreskin on the underside of the penis to the glans. It's a small tie that can have many different shapes. Sometimes it's too tight (frenulum breve) This stops the glans becoming completely free from the foreskin, it deforms the erection, as picture no. 4 shows. In the pictures below you can see different sorts of frenulums. There are both thick and thin connections, sometimes with additional attachments to the corona (no. 5). Some people advise exercises to stretch a short frenulum. This is difficult in practice because it's such a small bridle of rather tough skin tissue. A tight foreskin (phimosis) can often be stretched by regular exercises but not in all cases. A frenulum which is too short can almost never be stretched sufficiently.

The frenulum is an important area of pleasure on the penis. Touching and rubbing stimulate the nerves in this area. Doing this can easily make the penis erect. This seems to be the only function. The connection function is superfluous. When there is no frenulum the foreskin functions in the same way, or even better. An erect intact penis needs not automatically bare the glans, some will do, others need manual assistance. In addition, the foreskin needs not spontaneously cover the glans (with or without the presence of a frenulum) when the penis becomes flaccid again.

Here are some examples of the uncut penis with a retracted foreskin and an intact frenulum:

no. 1   no. 2   no. 3   no. 4   no. 5

If the frenulum is too short, in order to get a well functioning penis (for those men who don't need a circumcision for medical reasons or those who simply don't want it), frenuloplasty is an alternative. It's a really simple operation without any complications. The frenulum is cut, clipped or tied up. As a result it becomes elongated.

An example of frenuloplasty performed by a Dutch urologist can be seen here:  

Some surgeons remove the entire frenulum (frenulectomy or frenectomy) in order to prevent too much loose skin remaining afterwards. Often this is simply because the operating doctor knows only the one specific technique. In most cases removing any tissue is unnecessary and there's much more chance of damaging the underlying nerves. If only a cut is made in the frenulum it's often called 'frenulotomy'. I prefer 'frenuloplasty' for all treatments to avoid confusion.

My uncut penis was operated on in this way more than 20 years ago. I always liked to have a bared glans. However it caused thickening by oedemia (paraphimosis) behind the corona of the glans, but my foreskin always was wide enough to slip it forward again.
The foreskin was not obstructed by the frenulum when the penis was erect. The glans was fully exposed, but the frenulum was a little bit tight. It was not painful. It had a strong resemblance with example no. 4. The front of the glans was also influenced when retracting the foreskin. It became deformed like the picture shows. The frenulum itself was substantial. Sometimes the frenulum rips spontaneously, mine never would have ripped. In the preceding years it allowed normal use without any problems when having sexual intercourse or masturbating. Therefore the operation wasn't necessary, but the short frenulum sometimes was irritating, especially when the glans was kept uncovered for several hours. (when I wore my foreskin retracted).

I chose to have a frenuloplasty. My frenulum was cut by tying up. The doctor who operates may be an urologist, but it is so easy that a family doctor (GP's) can do this operation. It can be performed under local anaesthesia.

A needle with a thin strong thread is pricked underneath the frenulum. It is tightened with knots as tight as possible. The first night afterwards will be somewhat painful but the following days it's hardly noticeable. The thread and knot really pinch up the skin tissue and cut through the frenulum (even a substantial frenulum) after about 7 days. Cutting by means of tying up the frenulum makes a much nicer - later on even invisible - scar. The penis has to be softened in hot water for about 15 minutes three times a day. This assists and eases the healing of the wound. After about a week the thread just falls off. It turned out good in my case, but the result still wasn't exactly as I wanted it to be. The process had to be repeated. There was still a remaining section of frenulum which irritated me because it still was a little bit too tight, and so the remaining small section was given a second tying. After a week or two the result was really marvelous. All the nerves were still working perfectly and the feeling was far better than before. The tight frenulum had disappeared, without even needing to remove any tissue.

Click on photo for more details


There are no photographs made of the tying up. A light brown narrow stripe on the skin shows the 'elongated' frenulum. On the picture on the left side little stripes are placed in order to explain the changes that took place. Click on the photo for further details. The picture gives a close-up of the front-end on the underside of the penis. The skin is retracted as far as possible to show the results.

(See Tying up the Frenulum for more details)

One or more small clips can be used to achieve the same end. There are many other operations, which require more time. Some complex surgery may result in less aesthetic results, because cutting by scalpel can give more scars. The site of R. Stuart offers extra information about the treatment of frenulum breve. Some hospitals or urologists have their own information sites, for instance St John's or T.B. Hargreave.

Recovery from such an operation can last some weeks till several months. It depends on the tightness of the frenulum and the foreskin. The skin needs time to get accustomed to the new position and stretch appropriately.

I was very pleased with the results: an unhindered glans pointing straight-ahead instead of pulled-down, as it was before. The feelings have remained the same as before. The little pleasure-spot at the backside of the penis is situated approximately ¾ inch behind the corona of the glans. (round about stripe no. 2 and its surroundings on the pictures) There is a chance of damaging these erogenous nerve endings by cutting too deep. Tying up has benefits: no risks of bleeding and hardly any scars.

My results from my frenuloplasty are shown in the following picture of my penis taken more than 20 years later, with its free glans and versatile foreskin which can easily be retracted a long way backwards.

Results of frenuloplasty
This picture is of an uncircumcised penis

You can see the differences in colour between the inside and outside folds of the foreskin. The skin of the shaft can be pulled backwards much more than in former times. See more pictures after my operation
These pictures show that now the underside of the glans is completely free in the place where the frenulum was formerly attached.

After the operation on my frenulum there were no swellings at all and there's hardly any visible scar. There's only a remaining little piece of useless skin just under the urethral opening. When masturbating I only move the skin of the shaft back and forth without touching the glans. It gives good feelings at the place where the frenulum was situated and on the foreskin itself. Circumcised men are missing most of these feelings.

Your family doctor or GP can give you further information about this subject.

My operation happened long ago. Since then I started wearing my foreskin retracted almost permanently. So-called 'skinning back'. There are no more irritations at all. The foreskin doesn't get thickened anymore and it always stays behind the corona of the glans even at its smallest which is about 2" (5 cm). The length of the fully erect penis is 5¾ inches (14½ cm). The smooth skin can easily follow the thickening and lengthening of the erect penis. A tight frenulum can obstruct the full unfolding of the glans. If the glans cannot be exposed freely because it is pulled back by a tight frenulum, the length of the penis is a bit shorter.

On the picture on the left, my foreskin is slipped forward over the penis head. These photographs show the flaccid state of my penis as it normally looks under cold circumstances. Also the scrotum is tighter than under warmer conditions. The foreskin has shortened and widened somewhat during the many years of practicing skinning back.

The picture underneath and on the right shows that my foreskin stays behind the corona of the glans. Maybe this depends on the shape and it might not work with other penises, where the foreskin then spontaneously slips back to the forward position, especially when the foreskin is very long. Men with a loose circumcision can also sometimes have a partly covered glans.

When I'm peeing with an uncovered glans, it's a benefit that it does not spray anymore.
If you choose to have a permanently bared penis head then another consequence is the absence of smegma and the nasty smell.

(Editors note: See also Bob's anthropological study on skinning it back)

On the Internet you can hardly find any pictures about frenuloplasty. That's why this site has been made, knowing what it could look like might be of help in taking decisions. It's also important to know that having a short frenulum never provides a sufficient indication for circumcision.

In my country most men are uncircumcised. Most circumcisions are performed for medical or religious reasons. However, some men want to be circumcised for cosmetic reasons. They like an exposed glans more than a covered one. A simple frenuloplasty can often get you almost equal results. The foreskin can be skinned-back permanently in most cases and there are no ugly scars of cutting the foreskin. Besides, it's much easier to masturbate. By keeping the foreskin intact the many nerves in this piece of skin give pleasant feelings too. Why then cut it off?