A-Z OF SKIN

Pearly penile papules

Pearly penile papules

What are pearly penile papules?

Pearly penile papules are very small skin coloured lesions on the end part of the penis (glans). They can be dome shaped or thread like. Sometimes there are one or two lesions, but more often, there is a group of these little bumps along the corona or sulcus of the glans.

 What causes them?

Pearly penile papules are considered to be a normal variant and are a result of overgrowth of dilated blood vessels, fibroblasts and collagen (cells and supporting tissue of the skin) in a localised area. What triggers this is not well understood. Pearly penile papules are not an infection and cannot be passed on to other people.

What do they look like?

They are small firm, smooth, skin coloured dome shaped or thread lesions on glans of the penis.

 What other problems can occur with them?

Pearly penile papules are not associated with any other problems.

 How are they diagnosed?

They are diagnosed by a dermatologist based on the appearance. In cases where they need to be differentiated from other similar looking skin lesions, your doctor may decide to perform a biopsy (take a sample of the skin) and send this to a pathologist who will examine it under the microscope.

 How are they treated?

Pearly penile papules do not require any treatment. However, if the appearance is of concern then there are a number of options but these may result in scar tissue replacing the lesions:

  • CO2 laser
  • Electrosurgery (using an electrical device to destroy the angiofibroma).

What is the likely outcome of pearly penile papules?

Pearly penile papules tend to persist but do become less obvious with increasing age.

 This information has been written by Dr Anousha Yazdabadi

Last updated 23/04/18