Pearly Penile Papules | PPP
Pearly penile papules (PPP) are small tentacles that may form on the ridge of the glans of the human penis. Although harmless, they are an unsightly anatomical variation. Sometimes they are confused with genital warts caused by HPV infection which is a sexually transmitted disease. However the pearly penile papules, PPP are not a sexually transmitted infection and are not contagious. The pearly penile papules, PPP appear as one or several rows of small, pearly or flesh-coloured, smooth, dome-topped bumps situated around the rim surrounding the head of the penis, circumferential or just at the region of the sulcus of the glans penis. They may range in size from less than 1 mm to 3 mm. The variation is common and estimated to be present in a 10-15% of adult men. Studies suggest that it occurs more often on younger men and those who have not been circumcised.
Pearly penile papules are also known as just PPP are sometimes described as redundant remnants of penile spines, sensitive features found in the same location in other primates. In species which retain the full expression of penile spines, the spines contribute to sexual pleasure and quicker orgasms of both the male and the female.
Dr Kahlout shares his personal views and medical experience about Pearly Penile Papules (PPP) treatment in a series of clinic blogs. To find out more please click one of the links below:
A similar expression, vestibular papillomatosis of the vulva or Hirsuties papillaris vulvae, occurs in females and similarly can be misinterpreted as an outbreak of the HPV infection. Like hirsuties papillaris genitalis, it is a normal variation on human anatomy.
While pearly penile papules, PPP pose no risk to a male’s physical health or sexual reproductive life, some men or their sexual partners may consider them aesthetically displeasing. They are found to be distressing psychologically. Having pearly penile papules does contribute to poor self-esteem. I see many men suffering from PPP commonly choosing not to have an intimate partner due to those unsightly pearly penile papules.
There are several medical ways to remove them. Like any elective medical procedure, there is always some risk of unexpected consequences, so only doctors with sexual medicine and surgical experience are advised to remove them. Pearly Penile Papule treatments are performed at Castleknock Cosmetic Clinic, Dublin. Dr Kahlout has considerable experience in sexual medicine.
Plasma Skin Beam
Plasma skin beam, is a new non-laser technology that uses plasma, which is a burst of energy using advanced algorithm radiofrequency (RF) to provide a thermal burst of energy into the Pearly Penile Papules PPP just below the skin surface. Unlike lasers which use light energy to target a specific component of the papules, this device uses pulses of ionized inert nitrogen gas to alter structures below the surface of the skin. The skin above it is not removed until the next day when the treated and damaged pearly penile papules sloughs off and separate from the overlying skin leaving evenly contoured skin behind. The peeling continues for about 7 to 10 days.
The most popular treatment is using a Fractionated CO2 laser to treat the pearly penile papules, PPP. Fractional CO2 laser procedure is popular skin resurfacing procedure. The same laser technology but with different parameters is painlessly utilised to treat those unwanted pearly penile papule spines. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia. The procedure normally takes 30 minutes to perform and does not require in-hospital stay. Discomfort should be minimal with the use of long lasting local anaesthesia block. The expected recovery time is limited to a few days, and return to normal activities in a couple of weeks.
Another alternative procedure to treating pearly penile papules is a procedure that involves short wave diathermy (SWD) hyfrecation. The SWD procedure is performed with a high precision hyfrecator and should take less than an hour to perform. The SWD uses electromagnetism to deposit measured amounts of energy into the undesired PPP.
All these procedures are good in ridding the patient from the unsightly PPP, however the Plasma and CO2 laser do have the more favorable success and a better aesthetic outcome.
For further information and to arrange a consultation with Dr Kahlout, please contact the clinic