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An Overview of Scrotal Webbing in Infants

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: dianahardin • updated: 4/14/2011

Infant scrotal webbing is present at birth or a complication of circumcision, where too much skin has been removed. Although this condition doesn't alter health, it can produce complications during adulthood. Cosmetic surgery is needed to correct the abnormality.

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    Penoscrotal webbing is a condition that affects the penis and is often present at birth. It can be a complication of circumcision. Scrotal webbing, or turkey neck, isn't a serious or life threatening condition. In severe cases of scrotal webbing, the function of the penis may be decreased. Treatment for scrotal webbing requires surgery to correct and is considered cosmetic. Infant scrotal webbing usually isn't corrected unless the defect is severe. Males with severe scrotal webbing often undergo cosmetic treatment as a toddler or adult.

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    Scrotal Webbing in Infants

    Infant scrotal webbing is a minor congenital abnormality often present at birth or the result of the removal of too much skin during a circumcision. Penoscrotal webbing results when the underside of the penis shaft is connected to the scrotum, causing a webbing between the two. The webbing can be minor, but in severe cases, the scrotal skin can connect the entire length of the penis shaft. Even when webbing is present, there should be no further abnormalities to a penis or scrotum that are considered to be of average size and capable of functioning correctly after the webbing is treated.

    The severity of scrotal webbing is classified as either simple webbing or compound webbing. Simple webbing involves only a small portion of the penis shaft and very little scrotal tissue, whereas a compound webbing can involve the entire shaft of the penis, limiting penile function. Simple webbing generally occurs if too much skin has been removed during a circumcision. If simple webbing is moderate, no treatment may be needed.

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    Scrotal Webbing Complications

    Scrotal webbing complications are relatively minor and only affect how well the penis functions. Depending on the extent of the webbing, the penis may appear small, and achieving an erection can cause discomfort. The webbing can also result in discomfort or pain during intercourse. Some men have difficulty using a condom properly with scrotal webbing.

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    Scrotal Webbing Treatment

    Treatment for minor cases of scrotal webbing typically isn’t needed. Treatment for compound webbing is purely cosmetic and requires surgical intervention. A procedure known as Z-plasty is conducted to separate the penile shaft from the scrotum. During Z-plasty, a zigzag incision is used to remove the webbing, leaving a zigzag scar. The procedure is considered to be simple with few complications or side effects.

    Very rarely, Z-plasty is conducted on infants. Most adult men choose to undergo this procedure if the condition hasn‘t been treated previously. Babies as young as six months can have the abnormality corrected, despite the fact the recommended age is 18 months. When corrected at an early age, the child will have no memory of the condition or the surgery to repair the abnormality. The suitable age for treatment is determined case by case, using the patient’s needs. When correcting this condition in infants and babies, both surgical and psychological benefits and risks are evaluated prior to making a decision.

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