Frenulum Breve (Short): How To Identify, Treatment & Surgery

Updated in July 2022

Frenulum breve is a penile condition in which the piece of skin that connects the foreskin to the glans is shorter than normal, causing a lot of tension when pulling the foreskin back or during an erection. This can cause the frenulum to tear during more vigorous activities such as sexual contact, resulting in severe pain and bleeding.

Because this problem doesn't improve on its own over time, it is recommended to consult a urologist to have the foreskin examined and determine whether surgery is necessary. This procedure, also known as a frenuloplasty, involves an incision on the frenulum to release the skin and reduce tension during erection.

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How to identify a short frenulum

In most cases, it's easy to identify whether the frenulum is shorter than normal, as it's not possible to pull the foreskin completely without feeling a slight pressure on the frenulum.

However, other signs that may indicate this problem include:

  • Pain or discomfort that makes sexual contact unpleasant;
  • The head of the penis folds down when the foreskin is pulled back;
  • The skin of the glans cannot be completely pulled back.

This problem can often be confused with phimosis, however, with phimosis, the frenulum is usually not seen at all. However, if there is a suspicion of either a short frenulum or phimosis, a consult with a urologist is recommended to start the appropriate treatment. Ideally, treatment should be done before becoming sexually active to prevent any future discomfort.

Read more about treatment for phimosis

How to treat a short frenulum

The treatment for a short frenulum should always be guided by a urologist, because, depending on the tightness of the frenulum, different techniques, such as ointments with betamethasone or skin stretching exercises, can be advised.

However, surgery is recommended in almost all cases, as decreasing the frenulum tightness can prevent future frenulum tears

How is surgery done

Surgery for a short frenulum, also known as frenuloplasty, is a very simple and quick treatment that can be done in the office of the urologist. The surgery usually takes about 30 minutes, using only local anesthesia, and the patient can return home shortly after.

Complete healing takes about 2 weeks after surgery and sex should be avoided for the same period. Swimming and hot tubs should also be avoided to speed up healing and prevent infection.