Pearly Penile Papules
Worried about visible tiny bumps on the head (glans) of your penis, you could have pearly penile papules (PPP), a variant of normal. Or you could have genital warts or molluscum contagiosum, both are contagious viruses that should be treated.
Our experienced dermatologists at Strimling Dermatology, Laser & Vein Institute are experts at diagnosis and treatment of all of these conditions, and especially in painless elimination of PPP. Consultation and treatment can often be combined in one easy visit without the need for a second appointment for treatment. Patients can drive themselves even after treatment.
What are Pearly Penile Papules & what do they look like?
PPP are tiny to small, benign (non-cancerous) skin growths that are located circumferentially around the head (glans) of the penis. PPP can vary in color from skin-colored, pink, white, yellow or (rarely) translucent, but are most typically skin-colored. Pearly penile papules range in size from 1-4 mm. Although shape, size and color may vary between individuals, all lesions tend to be the same in any particular affected person. Pearly penile papules are considered a normal variant and harbor no malignant potential, but can be removed if desired.
Why do some men have Pearly Penile Papules?
We do not know why some men get or have PPP, as its cause is unknown. PPP does not distinguish by race, location or sexual preference. There may be a slightly increased risk of PPP in uncircumcised males.
Are Penile Pearly Papules Contagious?
PPP is not a sexually transmitted disease and is therefore not contagious.
Are Pearly Penile Papules a form of genital warts?
No, pearly penile papules are not genital warts. Genital warts are caused by various types of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a sexually transmitted infection and is thus contagious. HPV are small, flat /dome-shaped/cauliflower shaped growths that can develop on or around the genitals (penis & scrotum, vulva), anus, groin, thighs, lips, mouth, tongue and throat. Some HPV types can cause the wart or warts to evolve into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer that requires complete eradiction.
If you have any lumps or bumps in your genital area and/or you are concerned that you may have PPP or HPV or Moluscum Contagiosum (another viral condition), then you should make an appointment with us to establish an accurate diagnosis. Diagnosis is usually by visual exam (by an experienced dermatologist).
What is the treatment for Pearly Penile Papules?
Usually, treatment is not necessary, but if desired, they can be cosmetically removed. PPP does not go away by itself and cannot be removed by home remedies or over-the-counter “wart removers”. Such “wart removers” are not intended for more sensitive genital skin. Laser &/or electrosurgical ablation is our preferred method for PPP removal. In office, a topical anesthetic is applied to the areas to be treated; then, the PPP lesions are ablated (removed) painlessly by the above methods. One or more treatment sessions may be required, but usually only one. PPP removal is usually permanent and or long-lasting. However, rarely new PPP lesions may appear or return after several or more years and thus, may require a touch-up treatment, but usually not. Insurance does not cover the treatment of asymptomatic PPP lesions.
Most patients are treated in one simple consultation/treatment appointment without discomfort and are able to discreetly drive themselves to and from the appointment.
Our patients are typically highly satisfied with their results and pleasantly surprised that the procedure was so quick, painless, and easy to do, as many are understandably anxious.
In summary, pearly penile papules are harmless skin growths that are nothing to worry about or be concerned with, but can be removed for cosmetic purposes, if so desired. However, it is also important to differentiate PPP from genital warts, which should be treated.
With over 25 years experience, board-certified, compassionate cosmetic dermatologic surgeon Dr. Robert Strimling, MD specializes in painless, scarless, careful and expert removal of PPP.
Most of our patients are thrilled at how easy and painless treatment and recovery was for them.
Local and distant, out-of-town patients seek out Dr. Strimling for his expertise in PPP removal.
Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (702) 243-6400 to schedule a PPP consultation. Consultation and treatment can often be combined in one easy outpatient visit and you may drive yourself even after treatment.