Foreskin restoration

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A human penis circumcised at birth, before and after 42 months of non-surgical restoration.

Foreskin restoration refers to the process of expanding the residual skin on the circumcised penis by non-surgical means in order to recreate the foreskin which was removed in circumcision.[1] It can also refer to the process of expanding existing skin on an intact penis whose foreskin is abnormally short or non-existent (see aposthia).[2]

Foreskin restoration can be achieved via surgical and/or non-surgical means. Men take up foreskin restoration to restore sensation to the glans penis and to restore the gliding action of the natural penis. Another reason for restoring is a desire to create the natural appearance of an intact penis with the foreskin covering the glans penis. Jim Bigelow (1995) listed aesthetics, sensitivity of the glans, sexual stimulation and sexual function of a restored foreskin, and sense of wholeness as reasons that men give for desiring foreskin restoration.[3] Foreskin restoration techniques are most commonly undertaken by men who resent having been circumcised as children, or who have sustained an injury.[4] They are also used by intact men who simply desire a longer foreskin and by regret men.


Ancient history

Foreskin stretching (called "uncircumcision," or epispasm) appears to have been a common practice among Hellenized Jewish men in Hellenistic and Roman societies,[5] from at least as early as the 2nd century BCE.[6]

Key features of Hellenistic culture were athletic exercises in gymnasia and athletic performances in public arenas, where men appeared in the nude. While the penis sheathed in an intact foreskin was normal and acceptable, ancient Greeks and their Hellenistic successors considered the circumcised penis to be offensive, as it was perceived as a vulgar imitation of erection, unfit for public display. The ancient Greeks and their Hellenistic successors considered the "ideal prepuce" to be long, tapered, and "well-proportioned." Removing it was considered mutilation. Men with a short foreskin, a condition known as lypodermos, would wear a leather cord called a kynodesme to prevent its accidental exposure.[7]

The sight of circumcised genitals at public baths or gymnasia would inspire laughter and ridicule. Jewish men who wished to gain acceptance in the larger social world gave themselves a presentable appearance by pulling the remaining foreskin forward as far as possible, and keeping it under enough tension to encourage permanent stretching toward its original length. Using a fibular pin or a cord, they pierced the front of the remaining foreskin, drew it forward, and fixed it in place; sometimes they would attach a weight to maintain tension. Over time the foreskin stretched and restored at least some of the appearance of an intact organ.[8] Up until the 2th century, Jewish circumcision involved only partial foreskin removal. Rabbis of the 2th century mandated peri’ah, or the complete ablation of the foreskin in order to prevent Jewish men from engaging in foreskin restoration.[9]

Modern history

During World War II, some European Jews sought out underground foreskin restoration operations as a way to escape Nazi persecution.[10]

The practice of foreskin restoration was revived in the late twentieth century using modern materials and techniques. In 1982 a group called Brothers United for Future Foreskins (BUFF) was formed, which publicized the use of tape in non-surgical restoration methods. Later in 1991, another group called UNCircumcising Information and Resources Centers (UNCIRC) was formed.[11]

The National Organization of Restoring Men (NORM) was founded in 1989 in San Francisco, as a non-profit support group for men restoring the appearance of a foreskin. It was originally known as RECAP, an acronym for the phrase Recover A Penis. In 1994 UNCIRC was incorporated into this group.[12] Since its founding, several NORM chapters have been founded throughout the United States, as well as internationally in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.

Nonsurgical techniques

A series of steps for non-surgical foreskin restoration.

Nonsurgical foreskin restoration is the most commonly used method of foreskin restoration. It is accomplished through tissue expansion and involves pulling on the remnants of the foreskin. Both the skin of the penile shaft and the mucosal inner lining of the foreskin, if any remains after circumcision, may be expanded. The skin is pulled forward over the glans, and tension is applied manually, by using weights or elastic straps. In the latter two cases a device must be attached to the skin; surgical tape is often used.

TLCTugger device applied to a circumcised penis for non-surgical foreskin restoration.

An example of a device using elastic straps is the T-Tape method, which was developed in the 1990s with the idea of enabling restoration to take place more rapidly. Many specialized restoration devices (like the TLC Tugger shown in the picture) that grip the skin with or without tape are also commercially available. Tension from these devices may be applied by weights or elastic straps, by pushing the skin forward on the penis, or by a combination of these methods.

The amount of tension produced by any method must be adjusted to avoid injury, pain or discomfort, and provides a limit on the rate at which new tissue can be grown. There is a risk of damaging tissues if excessive tension is used, or if tension is applied for too long. Websites about foreskin restoration vary in their recommendations, from suggesting a regimen of moderate amounts of tension applied for several hours a day,[13] to recommending periods of higher tension applied for only a few minutes per day.[14][15]

Applying tension to tissue has long been known to stimulate mitosis, and research shows that expanded human tissues have the attributes of the original tissue.[16] Unlike conventional skin expansion techniques, however, the process of nonsurgical foreskin restoration may take several years to complete. The time required depends on the amount of skin available to expand, the amount of skin desired in the end, and the regimen of stretching methods used. Patience and dedication are needed; support groups exist to help with these (see External links section). The act of stretching the skin is often described informally as "tugging" in these groups, especially those on the Internet.

Intact men who would like to have a longer foreskin may use these same techniques of tissue expansion to lengthen a short foreskin. Benefits include improved protection of the glans penis, improved gliding action, and improved physical appearance.

It is impossible to predict how long it will take one to restore because there are many variables. The time is measured in years, but the time to enjoy one’s restored foreskin is measured in decades.

See also: Basics of foreskin restoration.


Results of non-surgical methods vary widely, and depend on such factors as the amount of skin present at the start of the restoration, degree of commitment, technique, and the individual's body. Foreskin restoration by tissue expansion successfully restores sensitivity to glans penis and restores the gliding action. Certain parts of the natural foreskin cannot be reformed. In particular, the ridged band, a nerve-bearing tissue structure extending around the penis just inside the tip of the foreskin,[17][18] cannot be recreated. Restored foreskins can appear much looser at the tip and some men report difficulty in keeping the glans covered. Surgical "touch-up" procedures exist to reduce the orifice of the restored foreskin, recreating the tightening function of the band of muscle fibers near the tip of the foreskin, though they have not proven successful in every case.[19] A loose effect can also be alleviated by creating increased length, but requires a longer commitment to the restoration program. In addition, several websites claim that the use of O-rings during the restoration program can train the skin to maintain a puckered shape.

As the shaft skin expands and gets longer the circumcision scar will travel down toward the tip and eventually turn under and be concealed inside the restored foreskin.

When the glans penis is habitually covered by the regrown foreskin, the increase in protection, plus moisture and oil from transudation provided by the new foreskin will result in de-keratinization of the glans penis and increase in sensation.

Surgical techniques

Surgical techniques of foreskin restoration are historical. They are seldom, if ever, used today because they have not given good results.

Surgical methods of foreskin restoration, sometimes known as foreskin reconstruction, usually involve a method of grafting skin onto the distal portion of the penile shaft. The grafted skin is typically taken from the scrotum, which contains the same smooth muscle (known as dartos fascia) as does the skin of the penis. One method involves a four stage procedure in which the shaft is buried in the scrotum for a period of time.[20] Such techniques are costly, and have the potential to produce unsatisfactory results or serious complications related to the skin graft.

British Columbia resident Paul Tinari was held down and circumcised at eight years old, in what he stated was "a routine form of punishment" for masturbation at residential schools. Following a lawsuit, Tinari's surgical foreskin restoration was covered by the British Columbia Ministry of Health. The plastic surgeon who performed the restoration was the first in Canada to have done such an operation, and used a technique similar to that described above.[21][22]

See also: Surgical foreskin restoration


Results of surgical foreskin restoration are much faster, but are often described as unsatisfactory, and most restoration groups advise against them.

Physical aspects

The natural foreskin has three principal components, in addition to blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue: skin, which is exposed exteriorely; mucosa, which is the inside surface in contact with the glans penis when the penis is flaccid; and a layer of muscle fibers under the foreskin. The ridged band is just inside the tip of the foreskin.

Generally, the skin grows more readily in response to stretching than does the mucous membrane. The ring of muscle which normally holds the foreskin closed is completely removed in the majority of circumcisions and cannot be regrown, so the covering resulting from stretching techniques is usually looser than that of a natural foreskin. According to some observers it is difficult to distinguish a restored foreskin from a natural foreskin because restoration produces a "nearly normal-appearing prepuce."[23]

Nonsurgical foreskin restoration does not restore portions of the frenulum or the ridged band excised during circumcision. Although not commonly performed, there are surgical "touch-up" techniques that can re-create some of the functionality of the frenulum and dartos muscle.[24]

The process of foreskin restoration seeks to regenerate some of the tissue removed by circumcision by expansion of residual tissue, as well as providing coverage of the glans. According to research, the foreskin comprises over one-half of the skin and mucosa of the human penis.[25]

By growing more penile skin, foreskin restorers recover the skin mobility that was eliminated by their circumcision. The ability to glide the skin of the penis over the glans constitutes a mechanical component of the stimulation mechanism of the penis.

In some men, foreskin restoration may alleviate certain problems they attribute to their circumcision. Such problems, as reported to an anti-circumcision group by men circumcised in infancy or childhood, include prominent scarring (33%), insufficient penile skin for comfortable erection (27%), erectile curvature from uneven skin loss (16%), and pain and bleeding upon erection/manipulation (17%). The poll also asked about awareness of or involvement in foreskin restoration, and included an open comment section. Many respondents and their wives "reported that restoration resolved the unnatural dryness of the circumcised penis, which caused abrasion, pain or bleeding during intercourse, and that restoration offered unique pleasures, which enhanced sexual intimacy."[26]

Some men who have undertaken foreskin restoration report a visibly smoother glans, which some of these men attribute to decreased levels of keratinization following restoration.

Sorrells (2007) et al. and Yang et al. (2008) have reported empirical data that proves there is more sensation in intact males.[27][28]

Generally recognized benefits of foreskin restoration

  1. An end to tight and painful erections. Increasing the quantity of skin results in longer skin and less tension when the penis is erect.
  2. Gliding mechanism: the gliding action is beneficial because it facilitates masturbation and sex by reducing friction and providing a stimulating sheath that pleasurably slips back and forth over the glans, thereby decreasing the need for artificial lubrication. This provides for more enjoyable intercourse for both partners and avoids problems with vaginal dryness.[29] The motion of the penile skin by the gliding action stimulates the nerves in the skin which are sensitive to motion and stretching.
  3. Moist glans penis: A restored foreskin keeps the glans penis moist and oily by transudation in the same manner as a natural foreskin.
  4. Appearing and Feeling whole: The circumcision scar has turned under the restored foreskin and is invisible. The presence of the restored foreskin causes one to look and feel intact, whole, complete, and normal.
  5. Coverage of the glans: this is beneficial because (a) it protects the glans from uncomfortably rubbing up against things, and (b) by keeping the glans moist and protected, it leads to dekeratinization, which subsequently increases sensation.
  6. More sensation: It is true that non-surgical foreskin restoration cannot restore the ridged band or the frenulum, but a restored foreskin does have some nerves in it. Those nerves are stimulated by the gliding of the foreskin, so it is quite pleasurable to have a restored foreskin. Some men who were circumcised as adults and subsequently restored have estimated that they got back about 80 percent of what they had lost in sensation.
  7. Increased comfort: The head of one's penis is protected by foreskin as nature intended.
  8. Decreased keratinization of the glans penis.
  9. Esthetics: One's penis approaches the Greek ideal of male beauty.[30] The circumcision scar is now completely concealed by the longer skin which relocates the scar to the inside. As the restored foreskin gets longer and extends beyond the glans penis, the acroposthion is reformed.
  10. The presence of a foreskin and gliding action usually provides a more satisfactory intra-vaginal experience for the female partner.


Emotional, psychological, and psychiatric benefits

Foreskin restoration has been reported as having beneficial emotional results in circumcised men.[20][23][31][32] Watson & Golden (2017) recommended non-surgical foreskin restoration as a treatment for negative feelings in many adult men about their involuntary infant circumcision.[33]

Foreskin coverage indexes

In an effort to provide men partaking in foreskin restoration a reference to the extent of their circumcision skin loss, various foreskin coverage indexes have been created. Coverage indexes may be used by both circumcised and intact men to describe the extent of their coverage. All three systems are in use.

Original coverage index

The first coverage index (2008) comes to us from Australia. It is still online at Coverage Index.

Real coverage index

The original coverage index was not completely satisfactory and was supplemented by the Real Coverage Index, which lacked illustrations.

Advanced Devices coverage index

The latest and most complete example is the ADI Coverage Index (2020). The index depicts a range of penises in both the flaccid and erect state from 0 to 10, with 0 being the tightest circumcision and 10 the longest foreskin. Men undergoing foreskin restoration can chart their progress using the coverage index (CI).

Forced erect coverage

Forced erect coverage is yet another way to measure one's amount of skin.[34]


Books, websites and numerous articles have been published about foreskin restoration. See our compiled list of literature about foreskin restoration.

Regeneration of the foreskin

Recently there has been growing interest in regenerative medicine as a means to regenerate the human male foreskin. This is a completely different process from foreskin restoration by tissue expansion as described above. This option, if successful, unlike non-surgical foreskin restoration, would result in a true human male foreskin being regenerated.

In early 2010, Foregen, a non-profit organization dedicated to funding a clinical trial for the purposes of regrowing the human male foreskin, had been founded. A clinical trial had been scheduled for late 2010, but there were insufficient donations to follow through.[35]

The proposed method would involve placing the patient under general anesthesia. The penile skin would be opened at the circumcision scar, while the scar tissue is surgically debrided. A biomedical solution would then be applied to both ends of the wound, causing the foreskin to regenerate with the DNA in the patient's own cells. A biodegradable scaffold would be used to offer support for the regenerating foreskin.[36]

In 2018, Foregen announced the creation of a "decellularized extracellular matrix–based biomaterial scaffold" for the purpose of regenerating human foreskin.[37]

Foreskin regeneration is only theoretical as of 2024. No foreskin has ever been regenerated. There is no assurance that foreskin regeneration would actually be successful, if attempted.

Foregen had announced its desire to conduct trials on human volunteers in April 2023, but it has not yet happened.[38]


Timmermans et al. (2021) reported that "non-surgical foreskin restoration methods yield good results."[39]


Wayne Griffiths - Foreskin Restoration & Human Rights

R. Wayne Griffiths, M.S.[a 1], co-founder of NORM, discusses foreskin restoration and human rights in 2009.

Foreskin Restoration

Ron Low, a manufacturer of a foreskin restoration device, discussed foreskin restoration.

See also

External links


  1. REFweb Master of Science, Wikipedia. Retrieved 13 October 2021. (Latin: magisterii scientiae; also abbreviated MS, MSc, M.Sc., SM, S.M., ScM or Sc.M.)


  1. REFjournal Wisdom T. Constructing phallic beauty: Foreskin restoration, genital cutting and circumcisionism. Brill. 2014; : 93-134. DOI. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  2. REFjournal Collier R. Whole again: the practice of foreskin restoration. CMAJ. 2011; 183(18): 2092-3. PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 10 October 2023.
  3. REFbook Bigelow, Jim (1994): Why Men Today Want to Uncircumcise, in: The Joy of Uncircumcising!: Exploring Circumcision: History, Myths, Psychology, Restoration, Sexual Pleasure, and Human Rights. Edition: 2. Hourglass Book Pub. Pp. 113-4. ISBN 978-0934061223.
  4. REFjournal Özer M, Timmermans FW. An insight into circumcised men seeking foreskin reconstruction: a prospective cohort study. Int J Impot Res. November 2020; 32(6): 611-6. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  5. REFjournal Rubin JP. Celsus's Decircumcision Operation. Urology. July 1980; 16(1): 121-124. PMID. DOI.
  6. REFbook Glick LB (2005): "This Is My Covenant", Circumcision in the World of Temple Judaism, in: Marked in Your Flesh. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. P. 31. ISBN 0-19-517674-X. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
    Quote: Foreskin stretching (called "uncircumcision," or epispasm) appears to have been a common practice among Hellenized Jewish men...
  7. REFjournal Hodges FM. The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme. Bulletin of the History of Medicine. September 2001; 75(3): 375-405. PMID. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  8. REFbook Glick LB (2005): "This Is My Covenant", Circumcision in the World of Temple Judaism, in: Marked in Your Flesh. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. P. 31. ISBN 0-19-517674-X. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
    Quote: ...some, eager for acceptance in the larger social world, gave themselves a presentable appearance by pulling the remaining foreskin forward...
  9. REFbook Glick LB (2005): "This Is My Covenant", Circumcision in the World of Temple Judaism, in: Marked in Your Flesh. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. P. 31. ISBN 0-19-517674-X. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
    Quote: For obvious reasons this was anathema to the rabbis: tantamount to rejection of Judaism and defiance of rabbinic authority.
  10. REFjournal Tushmet L. Uncircumcision. Medical Times. 1965; 93(6): 588-593.
  11. REFjournal Bigelow J. Uncircumcising: undoing the effects of an ancient practice in a modern world. Mothering. 1994; Summer: 121-124. Retrieved 13 June 2024.
  12. REFweb Griffiths, R. Wayne (2006). NORM - History. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  13. REFweb Griffiths, R. Wayne. NORM - Recommended Restoration Regimen. Retrieved 27 August 2006.
  14. REFweb Foreskin Restoration Chat Manual Restoration Method and Guide. Retrieved 27 August 2006.
  15. REFweb Manual Methods of Foreskin Restoration. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
  16. REFjournal Cordes S, Calhoun KH, Quinn FB. Tissue Expanders. [[Journal|University of Texas Medical Branch Department of Otolaryngology Grand Rounds]]. 15 October 1997;
  17. REFweb Taylor JR (4 February 1997). Interview with John Taylor. Retrieved 26 August 2007.
  18. REFbook Bigelow J: The Joy of Uncircumcising!. P. 13. ISBN 096304821X.
  19. REFbook Bigelow J: The Joy of Uncircumcising!. Edition: 1998. Pp. 188-192. ISBN 096304821X.
  20. a b REFjournal Greer DM, Mohl PC, Sheley KA. A technique for foreskin reconstruction and some preliminary results. The Journal of Sex Research. 1982; 18(4): 324-330. DOI.
  21. REFjournal Euringer A. BC Health Pays to Restore Man's Foreskin. The Tyee. 25 July 2006;
  22. REFjournal Laliberté J. BC man's foreskin op a success. National Review of Medicine. 30 June 2006; 3(12)
  23. a b REFjournal Goodwin WE. Uncircumcision: A Technique For Plastic Reconstruction of a Prepuce After Circumcision. J Urol. 1990; 144(5): 1203-1205. PMID.
  24. REFbook Bigelow J: The Joy of Uncircumcising!. Pp. 188-191.
  25. REFjournal Taylor JR, Lockwood AP, Taylor AJ. The prepuce: specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision. Br J Urol. 1996; 77: 291-5. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  26. REFjournal Hammond T. A Preliminary Poll of Men Circumcised in Infancy or Childhood. BJU Int. 1999; 83(Suppl. 1): 85-92. PMID. DOI.
  27. REFjournal Sorrells ML, Snyder JL, Reiss MD, Eden C, Milos MF, Wilcox N, Van Howe RS. Fine‐touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis. BJUI. 19 March 2007; 99(4): 864-9. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  28. REFjournal Yang DM, Lin H, Zhang B, Guo W. Circumcision affects glans penis vibration perception threshold. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 14 September 2008; 14(4): 328-330. PMID. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  29. REFjournal Warren J, Bigelow J. The case against circumcision. Br J Sex Med. September 1994; : 6-8. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  30. REFweb (2017). Ancient Greeks & the Foreskin, Acroposthion. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
    Quote: The ancient Greeks were against the practice of circumcising their males and possessing a generous foreskin was a significantly important part of their culture.
  31. REFjournal Penn P. Penile Reform. British Journal of Plastic Surgery. 1963; 16: 287-8. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
    Quote: The result was satisfactory physically and the patient was completely rehabilitated psychologically.
  32. REFjournal Boyle GJ, Goldman R, Svoboda JS, Fernandez E. Male Circumcision: Pain, Trauma and Psychosexual Sequelae. Journal of Health Psychology. 2002; 7(3): 329-43. DOI. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  33. REFjournal Watson LR, Golden T. Male circumcision grief: effective and ineffective therapeutic approaches. New Male Studies: An International Journal. 2017; 6(2): 109-25. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  34. REFweb Forced Erect Coverage. Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  35. REFweb (21 September 2010). Foregen, Foregen. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  36. REFweb (23 June 2010). Clinical Regen Trial, Foregen. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  37. REFjournal Purpura V, Bondioli E, Cunningham EJ, et al. The development of a decellularized extracellular matrix–based biomaterial scaffold derived from human foreskin for the purpose of foreskin reconstruction in circumcised males. Journal of Tissue Engineering. 2018; 9: 1-11. PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  38. REFweb (2021). Research, Foregen. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  39. REFjournal Timmermans FW, Mokken SE, Poor Toulabi SCZ, et al. A review on the history of and treatment options for foreskin reconstruction after circumcision PDF. Int J Impot Res. 14 April 2021; PMID. DOI. Retrieved 9 June 2022.
    Quote: Nonsurgical methods of reconstruction are rarely mentioned in literature. Nonetheless, nonsurgical methods, such as manual stretching and device-assisted tissue expansion, are commonplace among those who pursue foreskin reconstruction. Although the nonsurgical methods have yielded good results with minimal adverse effects, no proper medical research has been performed to quantify these outcomes.