Uncomfortable Penis Injury: Frenulum Breve
There aren’t a lot of different penis health issues between intact men and circumcised men, other than basics like needing to clean beneath the foreskin if a guy is intact. However, there is one penis injury an intact male might suffer – it’s called frenulum breve.
Often referred to colloquially as the banjo string, the frenulum is (to quote Wikipedia) “an elastic band of tissue under the glans penis that connects the foreskin (prepuce) to the vernal mucosa, and helps contract the foreskin over the glans.” The frenulum is typically long and helps allow for full retraction of the foreskin when the penis is in its erect state. All men are born with one; however, if a male is circumcised, most or all of the frenulum is removed during the circumcision.
Many men find the frenulum to be especially sensitive to touch and therefore one of their favorite erogenous zones.
Sometimes, however, an intact male may find that his frenulum is too short, a condition estimated to occur in about 5% of all intact men. This is what is meant by the term “frenulum breve.”
If the frenulum is too short, it can cause issues when the penis becomes erect. The foreskin may retract, but not all the way. Or it may fully retract, but the shortness of the frenulum may cause the glans to bend, so that it pulls forward in a manner which can cause pain.
But the real penis injury comes from small tears and cuts that occur when the shortened frenulum tries to stretch too far. Despite the fact that these are small, they can create a significant amount of pain. Think how painful paper cuts are, despite the fact that they are small. Now put that pain on one of the most sensitive areas of the body and imagine what it must feel like.
Sometimes the cuts can heal on their own, although this requires abstaining from sex for a while – and not all cuts do heal spontaneously. If the penis injury does not heal by itself, it’s important to seek out a urologist for his assistance.
In some cases, the urologist may suggest continued rest. At other times, however, some form of surgery may be necessary.
Often a urologist will suggest circumcision as the best way to handle frenulum breve. Removal of the foreskin can indeed remove the problem; however, many men who are intact have very strong feelings about maintaining their foreskin and do not wish to consider removal.
Another option is something called a frenuloplasty. It’s a short procedure, usually lasting about half an hour and generally conducted under local anesthesia. The doctor will take the frenulum and make a cut in it, then re-sew the two flaps in such a way that the frenulum has greater length and movement. The stitches usually stay in for a few weeks.
Freedom from pain is not immediate; it usually takes several months for the procedure to totally heal. However, most men then report that their erections do not have the pain they once had and find a greater freedom of foreskin movement.