Pearly penile papules (PPPs) are small dome-shaped skin-colored papules that typically are located on the glans penis. Commonly, PPPs are arranged circumferentially in one or several rows and often are assumed wrongly to be transmitted sexually. PPPs most commonly are confused with condyloma acuminatum (genital warts) or less often, with molluscum contagiosum.
Pearly Penile Papules are considered to be benign lesions and harbor no malignant potential. They are not contracted, spread through sexual activity or associated with personal hygiene. Even though there is little known about the cause of PPPs, they are known to be more prevalent among uncircumcised men.
The incidence of Pearly Penile Papules has been reported to be as high as 33% in some studies. PPPs are asymptomatic and require no medical therapy. However PPPs cause a great deal of anxiety to men until their benign nature is identified. They can also be uncomfortable for men during intimate situations because of the fear that their partner will mistake them for sexually transmitted lesions such as genital warts.
Finding these bumps can be scary and many men are uncomfortable bringing it up to their doctor. But once you know what they are you can decide what you want to do about them.
Although PPPs are benign it doesn’t mean you have to live with them. Traditionally there were many different treatment options including topical podophyllin, excisional surgery, electrodessication with curettage, cryotherapy and carbon dioxide laser. Topical podophyllin was found to be ineffective and the other treatment modalities were found to have mixed results.
Our medical team prefers to use Radiosurgical excision or radio-wave surgery for the removal of PPPs as well as other common skin lesions. He finds that because this technology uses radio waves and not electricity or heat, it causes less damage to the surrounding tissues, therefore reducing post-treatment scarring and healing time. This modality used by an experienced physician allows for a very precise excision of skin lesions unmatched by the above mentioned treatment modalities.
The treatment for pearly penile papules lasts approximately 30mins - 45mins.
Many patients do not require any sort of pain relief following the removal of their papules. A full recovery is made within 8 - 10 days of the treatment, but during this time the level of discomfort is at an absolute minimal.
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