Epispasm is a word derived from ancient Greek, (επισπασμοσ), that means circumcision reversal or foreskin restoration. Epispasm was popular in the First Century among circumcised Jewish men who wished to appear as intact Greek. The practice of epispasm seems to have persisted from the Second Century B. C. to the Sixth Century A. D. Foreskin restoration is mentioned in the Apocryphal text of 1 Maccabees 14-15.
Hodges (2001) reported, Lipodermos is the name given by the Greeks to the condition of having a deficient foreskin. According to Hodges:
Through the development of the concept of lipodermos, Greek medicine gave to Greek civilization a scientific reinforcement of its disapproval of the violations of genital integrity occurring in the Near East. This ethos posited not only that a circumcised penis is a deviation from the natural—although that is of real importance—but that a circumcised penis is a defective and disfigured penis, one that can be repaired by medical treatment. Medicine and law thereby entered into a mutually supportive relationship: circumcision was against the law because it mutilated its victims, but, taken to the next logical level in this medico-ethical argument, it was also against the law because it necessarily inflicted a state of lipodermos on its victims.
Ancient surgical epispasm
Hall reported that surgery was necessary for epispasm.
Ancient tissue expansion for epispasm
Schultheiss et al. (1998) report that, in an alternative to the surgical procedures, a weight made of bronze, copper, or leather, called the Pondus Judaeus, was attached to the residual foreskin that pulled the skin downward and stretched it which resulted in tissue expansion.
In Greek terminology, a person who had undergone the procedure of stretching the prepuce was known as epispastikós, the stretched one (epispasmós = pull-over). Similarly, the Romans addressed him as recutitio, the reskinned (cutis = skin), not differentiating by this term whether it was done surgically or nonsurgically.
Epispasm in the present day
The technique was lost but it was rediscovered in the late Twentieth Century by a group of American men who called themselves Brothers United for Future Foreskins (BUFF). Epispasm, now known as non-surgical foreskin restoration, seems to be of ever-increasing popularity in the Twenty-first Century among circumcised men and even circumcised teenagers as young as 13 years of age.
Epispasm. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- Hall R. Epispasm: circumcision in reverse. Bible Review. August 1992; : 52-7. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
1 Maccabees 1-14-15, Bible Gateway. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
- Hodges FM. The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme. Bull. Hist. Med.. September 2001; 75(3): 375-405. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- Schultheiss D, Truss MC, Stief CG, Jonas U. Uncircumcision: a historical review of preputial restoration. Plast Reconstr Surg. June 1998; 101(7): 1990-8. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
- The popular REDDIT website has a sub-reddit for restoring teens that was started by a thirteen-year-old teen-age restorer. At least one other participant gives his age as thirteen.