Frenulum breve : A guide to Circumcision

This is the medical name for a short frenulum which restricts the movement of the foreskin. In other words, the foreskin cannot be pulled back.

The frenulum is a thin, elastic piece of tissue which connects the glans (head of the penis) to the inner layer of the foreskin. Also known as the ‘banjo string’(which it resembles) it also enables the foreskin to move over the glans. The frenulum is highly sensitive and responds immediately to stimulation.

But if the frenulum is too short it will affect the ability of the foreskin to retract which may affect sexual performance.

In some cases, the frenulum can tear during sexual intercourse which results in extensive bleeding and the formation of scar tissue.

This condition is usually treated by surgery which includes circumcision.

Symptoms of frenulum breve

The main symptom is that of being unable to fully retract the foreskin because the frenulum is too short. You will feel this restriction as you attempt to pull back the foreskin. You will also find that you are unable to fully retract the foreskin.

Other symptoms include:

  • The penis appears to bend forward (and at an angle)
  • Unable to form an erection except at ejaculation
  • Affects normal sexual activity
  • Pain and discomfort

In some cases it can lead to impotence as the sufferer will avoid getting an erection due to pain experienced when they do so.

Causes of frenulum breve

This is not an ‘acquired condition’ in that you develop frenulum breve: it is a condition which some men are born with.

Some men have a normal sized frenulum but others have a frenulum which is too short and so causes the problems described above.

Treatment for frenulum breve

Surgery is the preferred option. There are three types of procedures which are:

  • Circumcision
  • Frenuloplasty
  • Frenectomy

Circumcision is discussed in greater detail in our circumcision surgery section.

Frenuloplasty involves lengthening the frenulum – the thin membrane which runs from the glans to the foreskin. If the frenulum is too short then this will restrict movement of the foreskin.

This is a minor procedure which can be performed as day surgery under a local or general anaesthetic.

Frenectomy is the name given to the removal of the frenulum. This helps to relieve pressure on the glans and complete retraction of the foreskin. The frenulum can also be cut or removed during circumcision.

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