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Synechia is the medical name for an adhesion between body parts in any area of the body that are not normally adherent . The plural is synechiae. The word comes to us from Greek (συνέχεια).[1]

There are some synechiae that are natural. Baby boys are born with the inner foreskin fused with the glans penis by a synechial membrane that is common to both parts,[2] which is called the balanopreputial lamina.

Penile synechia in childhood

Øster (1968) was a school physician in Denmark where boys are not usually circumcised. Øster conducted regular examinations of school boys from age 6 through age 17 and recorded his results. Øster reported that 63% of 6-7 year old boys; 48% of 10-11 year old boys; and 3% of 16-17 year old boys had a prepuce that was not fully separated.[3] The separation and breakdown and the synechia is natural, normal, spontaneous, and requires no special care. Thorvaldsen & Meyhoff (2005) report about 50 percent of boys can retract their foreskin by age 10.4, thus confirming Øster's report.[4]

Synechia destruction prior to infant circumcision

When an infant boy is to be circumcised, as remains a practice in the United States, in preparation for the circumcision, the preputial synechia must first be forcibly separated by passing a blunt probe under the foreskin in an intensely painful procedure.

Premature forcible foreskin retraction

Premature forcible foreskin retraction (PFFR) of a boy's foreskin will rip the boy's synechia apart and cause severe pain and injury to the boys.[5] [6] Unfortunately, many American physicians are ignorant of normal penile anatomy and cause severe pain and grave injury to boys whom they examine in their practice. The first person to retract a boy's foreskin should be the boy himself.[7]

Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.) offers information and aid to parents of boys who have been injured and/or traumatized by PFFR.[8]

Spontaneous disintegration of the synechia

The synechia spontaneously disintegrates to release the foreskin.[2] The disintegration usually occurs in childhood but will persist into adolescence in a few cases.

Some intact boys will report pain when they urinate during the period in which separation is occurring. The condition is temporary and will end when separation is complete.[9]

See also

External links


  1. REFweb Synechia, The Free Dictionary, The Free Medical Dictionary. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  2. a b REFjournal Deibart GA. The separation of the prepuce in the human penis. Anat Rec. November 1933; 57: 387-99. DOI. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  3. REFjournal Øster J. Further Fate of the Foreskin: Incidence of Preputial Adhesions, Phimosis, and Smegma among Danish Schoolboys PDF. Arch Dis Child. 1968; 43(228): 200-3. PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 18 June 2024.
  4. REFjournal Thorvaldsen MA, Meyhoff HH. Phimosis: pathological or physiological?. Ugeskr Læge. 2005; 167(17): 1858-62. PMID. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  5. REFjournal Narvaez DF, Geisheker J. What Is the Greatest Danger for an Uncircumcised Boy?. Psychology Today. 23 October 2011; Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  6. REFjournal Narvaez DF, Geisheker J. Doctor Ignorance of Male Anatomy Harms Boys. Psychology Today. 30 October 2011; Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  7. REFjournal Wright JE. Further to the "Further Fate of the Foreskin.". Med J Aust. 1994; 160: 134-5. PMID. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  8. REFweb (1 April 2016). Wrongful Foreskin Retraction, Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.). Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  9. REFweb (February 2018). Foreskin separation, The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne. Retrieved 15 August 2023.