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Men's Health Information

NonSurgical Foreskin Restoration

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Foreskin Restoration ?!

The term 'foreskin restoration' is a bit of a misnomer. What the process actually boils down to, is 'stretching' existing skin on the penile shaft, which ultimately triggers the skin to grow. This is exactly what happens to the skin on a woman's stomach during her pregnancy - it expands as the fetus grows inside her.

The foreskin is a sensory organ, like the eyes.  However, it's function is much more unique - it's purpose is to create incredible pleasure, and it is irreplaceable.  The highly specialized tissue that is amputated can never be replaced, and the damage that's been done cannot be undone.

Because the circumcised penis no longer has skin to cover the glans, the glans dries out and becomes keratinized as each month and year pass by.  This results in the glans continually losing sensitivity to the point where it eventually becomes completely desensitized to all feeling.

However, it is possible to grow a replacement skin which can cover the glans once more.  The existing shaft skin can be coaxed into growth, and given enough time (years), the process results in a new skin covering for the glans.   This skin has the outward appearance of a foreskin, and can serve to reduce further sensitivity loss in the glans and even restore some of the lost sensitivity (depending on how much damage has been done - ie: how many nerves were torn from the glans during the foreskin amputation).

Make no mistake - it is not a new foreskin.

It is 'normal' skin, grown from the remaining skin on the penile shaft.  It contains no specialized sensory nerves.   Those are gone forever.  It is not ultra-thin and sensitive.   It does not contain the bands of ridged muscles which gently contract and expand like an elasticized socktop as the skin rolls over the glans.  The unique and highly specialized preputial skin that was amputated is gone forever.  The new penile skin has none of the sebaceous glands and can secrete none of the emollients of an original foreskin, so it cannot maintain the ph-balance, etc. the same as the original, but it can help keep the glans moist and reduce the layers of desensitizing keratinization.

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The most common method used to trigger penile skin growth is to affix surgical tape to the penile shaft and "tug" on the tape, and to maintain this "tug" by attaching the taped skin to your underwear or something such as a tensor bandage. This "tape assembly" is attached to the penis continuously, ie: 24-hours-a-day, over a period of months, and even years. During that time, the skin stretches and begins to grow new skin cells. Through this method, the skin on the penile shaft grows looser and looser, and begins to take on the same form/shape as the original foreskin. Once enough skin has grown so that the glans itself begins to remain covered once again, the glans will begin to slough off the layers of dead keratinized skin tissue that have built up over the years of the glans' exposure to the elements.

Getting Started

The first step is to prepare for taping. Basically you're going to tug on the penis to put the shaft skin under tension, thereby triggering the skin to grow new cells. Since there aren't any 'handles' on the skin on the penis shaft, you need to attach some kind of tape to the skin so that you have something to grab hold of in order to be able to tug on the skin.

Obviously you don't want to just slap some scotch tape, or masking tape, or industrial packing tape, or any other 'regular' type of tape onto your penis. This is because it either wouldn't stick, or it would stick too well and end up ripping the skin off when you go to remove the tape.

For this particular purpose you're going to use surgical tape. It's very thin, very light, very flexible, reasonably 'soft', and easily removed by simply getting it wet. Surgical tape is available under a number of brand names; one very common brand is 3M Micropore. Your local drug store may or may not (more often not) carry it. I've found that our local surgical and veterinary supply company always has it in stock.

The tape is sold in various widths - you need to buy tape which is 2 inches wide. If you can't locate 2-inch wide rolls, you can improvise using 1-inch wide rolls, by laying two 1-inch wide tape strips side by side and overlapping a third strip down the center to hold them together into a 2-inch wide strip.
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You'll also need some other materials/supplies.  A ruler, some heavy-duty tape - like shipping/packing tape, an exacto knife and/or sharp scissors, and something to cut on - such as heavy cardboard or the cover from an old looseleaf notebook binder.

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You're going to make a very straight-forward 'assembly' using the surgical tape. You're going to be wrapping the strip around the outside of your penis shaft - when erect - so you need enough tape to completely wrap all the way around the shaft, plus about three-quarters of an inch extra to overlap the end of the tape on the other end. Before cutting any tape you might want to use a piece of string and wrap it around the shaft to measure the circumference. Remember to add about 3/4 inch to the circumference to determine how long you will need to make the tape strips. On average, the tape strip(s) will need to be approximately 6 to 7 inches long.

What you're going to make is an assembly which - from the side - looks like an upside-down 'T'. You'll basically be placing two pieces of tape face to face, while keeping a small area - about half an inch along the bottom of the length of both tapes - from sticking together. To help keep the tape from sticking together you will lay a strip of specially-prepared 'backing' paper onto the section of surgical tape you want to keep from sticking.

To prepare the backing tape you will need a roll of heavy-duty packing tape. Simply run a strip of the packing tape onto a sheet of paper. Most rolls of packing tape are 2 inches wide, so you will end up with a piece of paper with a 2-inch wide strip of shiny tape running across it. You will then cut that strip of taped paper into the proper size to be used in the surgical tape assembly. Using the exacto knife and a ruler, cut down the length of the taped paper along one edge of the tape. Then cut along the length of the taped paper so that you end up with a 1 inch wide strip of taped paper. You are then going to cut the ends off of this strip, to make it approximately 6 to 7 inches long - the length that you determined for the circumference of your penis (plus the extra 3/4 inch).

Next, fold the backing strip in half, along the length. This will make each 'flap' of the fold approximately 6 inches long by a half inch wide.

Once you have the backing strip prepared, cut two strips of surgical tape, each about 7 to 8 inches long. The extra length is unimportant at this time, as it's the backing tape that will determine the actual length of the final tape assembly.

You're going to lay one of the 'flaps' of the backing strip along the edge of one of the strips of surgical tape, and then flip the backing tape over and lay the other 'flap' along the edge of the other surgical tape strip. The sticky surfaces of the uncovered surgical tape strips will then meet face to face and stick together. A diagram will help illustrate what you're going to do.

Once you've 'built' the tape assembly, you'll peel the backing paper from the 'flaps' and apply the exposed sticky tape surface to the shaft of your penis. You'll wrap the tape completely around the shaft.

What Does It Look Like ?

Depending on how 'tightly' you've been circumcised, you might or might not have any loose skin to work with at first. If you're like most circumcised men, there is no looseness in your shaft skin. In that case you should begin by taping at the scar line. The scar line is the boundary, about a half inch to an inch below the base of the glans, where the skin color changes significantly. You will apply the tape assembly along that line to begin with.

As your skin begins to grow you will eventually be able to start moving the tape line forward or backward as necessary to ensure even growth of outer and inner skin tissue.

Once you begin to grow some new skin you will be able to pull some of it forward up onto the glans. Use a pen to mark the furthest point on the skin, and apply the tape to that line.

Once you've identified where you are going to apply the tape, peel the backing from the tape and then affix it to the erect penis shaft.

Note: If the tape is applied when the penis is flacid, you risk tearing the skin as a result of spontaneous erections. This is definitely not a good thing. Therefore always apply the tape when the penis is erect.

Once you have wrapped the tape around the shaft, the tape 'assembly' will resemble a 'cone' or 'collar'.

Once the tape is firmly attached to the shaft skin, take hold of the tape 'collar' and tug, pulling the shaft skin forward.

A clamp, safety pin, or whatever, is used to attach the tape 'cone/collar' to an elastic strap, like a suspender belt, or tensor bandage.

The strap assembly is then pulled tight so that the skin on the penis shaft is pulled tight - about 16 ounces or so, not so tight as to hurt, but tight enough so that it is 'taught'. The strap assembly is then fastened to briefs, or the strap runs around the back (the penis is pulled to the side) and then down around the other leg and fastens back onto the strap itself.

The idea is to maintain uniform tension on the shaft skin. The skin will respond to that tension by first stretching, and then by growing new skin cells in an attempt to reduce the tension. Over time (days, weeks, months), the tension is maintained, and new skin is continuously produced as it attempts to reduce the tension. The new skin continues to grow, until eventually there's enough new skin to completely re-cover the glans.

What Can You Expect To Gain ?

In all skin tissue there are nerves, and therefore as one "grows" new penile skin tissue through the restoration process, those normal nerves also grow along with the skin. This is a natural biological occurrence. But remember - those nerves are "normal" nerves. They function in the same manner as the nerves in other skin tissue, such as the skin on the back of your hand. They respond to touch in a similar manner. Consequently, as new penile skin is grown to replace the amputated foreskin, new feelings and sensations will occur in the penis.

Considerable research into nerve regeneration has been done, and continues being done, and amazing things are being done with "damaged" nerves. However, there is a qualifier in that statement - which is the fact that nerves must be present - albeit severely damaged ones.

The ridged frenar bands of the foreskin are the only area in the preputial skin which contain highly specialized "erogenous" nerves - eg: Meissner corpuscles/end-organ cells. The remaining preputial mucosa is virtually identical to the lining of the lips inside the mouth. It is the ridged band nerves that are the major source of erogenous stimulation. When the foreskin is amputated those specialized nerve cells are totally removed.

To state the obvious: nerves - however badly damaged - can regenerate ... but "there must be nerve cells physically present for regeneration to occur". There is virtually no specialized erogenous nerve tissue remaining in a circumcised penis - that was the whole point in the bastards circumcising the baby - to remove all of that pleasurable tissue. Some erogenous tissue does remain in the glans after circumcision (perhaps as much as five %) but due to the keratinization of the glans, the sensitivity in that remaining glans tissue is reduced over time, and eventually disappears.

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As the process of restoration progresses, the remaining mucosa (the skin between the scar line and the glans corona) begins softening as a result of being covered up again, and it will regain a significant degree of the sensitivity it has lost through keratinization. And while that will most certainly improve that lost sensitivity, the nerves that are being regenerated are not the true erogenous nerves that were present in the main erogenous tissue of the penis - ie: the ridged band area. Those type of nerves cannot regenerate, simply because they are not present in the remaining mucosa.

With respect to regaining sensitivity in the glans and attendant nerve regeneration, a guiding principle is the amount of nerve damage initially caused during the tearing of the foreskin from the glans. A LARGE number of nerves on the surface of the glans were destroyed as they were ripped from the glans. Those are gone. Some nerves remained on the glans after the foreskin was ripped off. Of those remaining nerves, some died in the course of the next few days immediately after circumcision, as a result of being deprived of normal bloodflow to those nerves (because the surrounding tissue was so horribly damaged). Those are also gone.

Whatever nerves remained alive once the glans 'healed', are likely mostly still there. However they have been buried by layers of keratinized skin tissue. As the mucosal layer of the glans returns to its more natural state, the majority (hopefully) of those nerves should regenerate. Also, the skin surface of the glans will become more like the inner surface of your lips. There are a lot of "normal" nerves in that skin tissue. Granted they are not of the same functionality as the "erogenous" nerves, but they do transmit touch very nicely. Those nerves have also been buried under layers of keratinization, and will regain their sensitivity to touch as those dead cells slough off.

Additionally, there are other nerves which are much deeper within the structure of the glans. They primarily 'fire off' during the ejaculatory reflex, thus providing the pleasure we feel in the glans when ejaculation occurs. There is speculation that as more nerve sensation returns to the glans and the new expanded mucosa, that stimulation of those newly rejuvenated nerves is thought to have a 'piggy-back' effect which will trigger the firing of those deeper nerves - during the arousal phase, ie: prior to actual ejaculation. However, without research, this theory is unproven.

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The gain in sensitivity of the mucosa, and the return to a more mucosal state of the glans is most definitely something to cheer about and well worth the effort of restoration. Just don't be deluded into thinking that there is any hope of restoring nerves which cannot possibly be restored. A restored penis can never approach the uncut penis in the range and quality of sensations because of that sad fact.

Wouldn't it be better to have NOT circumcised the baby to begin with ?!

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For those interested in more specific information, you should refer to the authors of much of the research work done in this area (such as Gairdner, Winkelmann, & Taylor). A starting point for that research is the Links to Reference Sites page. For those who are interested in learning more about the process of penile shaftskin regrowth / foreskin replacement - please refer to the excellent websites, also listed on the Links to Reference Sites page, for further information.

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last updated: October 21, 1999