The ridged band is a band of highly innervated wrinkly skin just inside the tip of the foreskin. The term ridged is used to describe the area instead of the more commonly used term wrinkled. It has, especially in regard to phimosis (and preputioplasty), been called preputial ring or phimotic ring, ring being analogous to band, referring to the shape, and preputial meaning pertaining to the prepuce. More particularly, it refers to the transitional area from the external to the internal surface of the prepuce, or foreskin. The ridged band separates the outer skin of the penis from the inner mucosa. The ridged band contains nerve endings arranged at the crest of rete ridges. The nerve endings resemble Meissner's corpuscles or Krause end-bulbs.
The nerve endings in the ridged band are stimulated by deformation of their capsules. Deformation of the capsules may occur by pressure, by stretching of the foreskin, or by the rolling or gliding of the foreskin during sexual activity.
The nerves of the ridged band are believed to provide sensory input to the autonomic nervous system, which regulates sexual response.
Because of its location, the ridged band is invariably excised if a male is circumcised.
The late John R. Taylor, MB, Ch.B., MRCPEd, FRCPC[a 1], a British-Canadian pathologist and biomedical researcher who practiced medicine at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, MB, first used the term "ridged band" instead of "wrinkly skin" and described the ridged band at the Second International Symposium on Circumcision, organized by NOCIRC in San Francisco, 1991, after examining the foreskins of 22 adults obtained at autopsy. The mean age was 37 years, range 22–58. The prepuces were studied grossly and histologically. His research was later published by the British Journal of Urology in 1996.
Taylor described the ridged band as a transversely ridged band of mucosal tissue, located just inside the tip of the foreskin near the mucocutaneous boundary. He characterized the ridged band as intensely vascular and richly innervated, stating that it "contains more Meissner's corpuscles than does the smooth mucosa", and noted that these tactile corpuscles were found only in the crests of ridges.
Winkelmann (1956) had previously reported that the prepuce is "a region of great sensitivity and possessed of an abundant nerve supply." Cold & Taylor (1999) stated:
The complex interaction between the protopathic sensitivity of the corpuscular receptor-deficient glans penis and the corpuscular receptor-rich ridged band of the male prepuce is required for normal copulatory behaviour.
Taylor (2003) reported:
Work in progress shows that stretching the prepuce and its ridged band triggers reflex contraction of muscles of the bulb of penis known to be associated with ejaculation and, not insignificantly, erogenous sensation.
Taylor (2007) commented:
The range of functions of the ridged band remains uncertain but it is deeply corrugated, rich in distortion-sensitive Meissner's corpuscles and subject to the movement of muscularised shaft skin during sexual intercourse. It now seems that the concertina-like ridged band might be reflexogenic as much as fine-touch sensitive. Initial study (J.R.T. unpublished) indicates that the real importance of the ridged band to sexual intercourse lies in an ability to trigger a reflex contraction of muscles responsible for ejaculation.
Taylor (2007) also remarked:
The ridged band of prepuce is tucked just inside the tip of the unretracted prepuce; it is a richly vascular muscosal tissue heavily innervated by movement-sensitive Meissner's corpuscles. In addition to touch sensitivity, the ridged band is uniquely ridged or corrugated, and not surprisingly, work in progress indicates that retraction or stetching of this accordion like structure triggers reflex contraction of bulbocavernosus and bulbospongious. These "bulb muscles" compress the root or bulb of the penis and among other things, including deep erogenous sensation, are responsible for ejaculation and clearing of residual urine from the posterior urethra following micturition.
More recent studies provide additional evidence of the sensory and sexual function of the ridged band and foreskin. Kim & Pang (2007), working in South Korea, report that 48 percent of men experience less pleasure from masturbation after circumcision and 63 percent report an increase in difficulty of masturbation. Podnar (2012), working in Slovenia, compared the sexual response of normal intact men and circumcised men. The bulbo-covernosus reflex was elicitable in 92 percent of normal intact men, but it was elicitable in only 27 percent of circumcised men.
The ridged band area is situated just inside the tip of the foreskin. The ridged band area contains Meissner's corpuscles arranged in rete ridges. The Meissner's corpuscles are stimulated by motion and stretching. The foreskin contains a layer of muscle tissue called the dartos fascia. The dartos fascia allows a considerable degree of motion and stretching to stimulate the Meissner's corpuscles, which provides significant stimulation during sexual activity.
- The Ridged Band: Specialized Sexual Tissue (Dr John R. Taylor responsible for site content)
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Wikipedia. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
- 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.
- Winkelmann RK. The cutaneous innervation of human newborn prepuce.. Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 1956; 26(1): 53-67. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
- Cold CJ, Taylor JR. The prepuce. BJU Int. January 1999; 83, Suppl. 1: 34-44. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
- Taylor JR. Letter. Can Fam Physician. 2003; 49: 1592. PMID. PMC. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- Taylor JR. Fine touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis. BJU Int. 2007; 100(1): 218. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- Taylor JR. The forgotten foreskin and its ridged band. J Sex Med. September 2007; 4(5): 1516. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- Kim D, Pang MG. The effect of male circumcision on sexuality. BJU Int. 7 February 2007; 99(3): 619-22. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
- Podnar S. Clinical elicitation of the penilo-caversosus reflex in circumcised men.. BJU Int. February 2012; 109(4): 582-5. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 28 September 2019.