PPP At A Glance
- Best Results1-2 sessions
- Treatment Recovery3-6 days
- Procedure Time20 min
- Skin SpecialistDermatologist at Cutis
- Duration of ResultsPermanent
- AnaestheticNumbing gel
- Back to Work1-3 days
Pearly Penile Papules Treatment
Dermatologists at Cutis Dermatology treat PPP or pearly penile papules. These lesions are frequently mistaken for penile warts, especially if the occur in numbers. A simple 20-minute laser session will remove the majority of PPP. For life.
Key PointsKey points on PPP
- PPP or pearly penile papules are common lesions on the penis
- These are classed as angiofibromas, benign growths of skin & vessels
- PPPs can be embarrassing for some, esp. if they occur in numbers
- Simple ablative lasers can effectively treat PPP
- Results following laser are lifelong
- One simple 20 minutes procedure will reduce anxiety & embarrassment for life
What are pearly penile papules?
PPP are common lesions on the glans or head of the penis They are more common in uncircumcised males. In most cases PPP number between 4 to 10. In severe cases there may be 40 to 200 lesions, each measuring 1 to 3 mm in length.
Why treat PPP?
Understandably having numerous PPP can be alarming & embarrassing- especially if your sextual partner has not seen them before. Penile lesions & papules may resemble sextually transmitted diseases such as genital warts & molluscum.
What does laser treatment entail?
Lasers are the best treatment for penile papules. These lasers are called ablative lasers & include the CO2 & erbium. We use 2 specific lasers with ultra-small spot sizes that range between 1 to 2 mm in diameter.
Laser treatment is performed by a specialist (not a GP) who has been formally trained in this procedure. In summary:
- Lasers remove the majority of PPP in one session
- Treatment is painless
- Recovery is quick- typically 3-6 days
- Lasers are pinpoint precise, with zero collateral damage
How many treatments will I require?
Most patients require one session. In exceptional cases whereby PPP numbers are extensive, your treating dermatologist may undertake a second procedure. This is done to reduce the incidence of scarring.
View our Treatment Gallery
How can I tell if they are PPP, Fordyce spots or a sexually transmitted disease?
Pearly penile papules are often mistaken for symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection, such as genital warts. Here are some helpful hints to differentiate between pearly penile papules & STD.
PPP: Occurs around the head of the penis. They are uniform in size & distribution. As the name suggest, they appear ‘pearly’ & dome shaped.
Genital warts are bigger, more like cauliflowers, & can occur in areas other than the penis, such as the scrotum or anus.
Molluscum contagiosum is another STD that can resemble PPP. This viral infection can occur on the penis & skin of the genital area. The central dell or ‘umbilication’ is characteristic.
Fordyce spots can look like PPP, however with Fordyce the distribution is on the shaft of the penis. These are smaller & more yellowish in colour, as compared to pearly penile papules.
If you would like a definitive diagnosis prior to treatment, arrange a virtual consultation with our dermatologists at Cutis Dermatology.
Why types of lasers do specialists use to treat PPP?
Cutis Dermatology has over 40 laser devices for a specific reason – to match a skin condition to the best possible laser device.
For the treatment of PPPs, we employ specific lasers. These lasers minimise collateral damage to the surrounding skin.
- Sciton Joule erbium with a focused spot size of 1 to 1.5 mm. This allows accurate ablation of PPP with minimal collateral damage. Erbium has a faster recovery time in comparison to carbon dioxide lasers.
- CO2 with small spot sizes & super short PD.
How long does it take to recover from laser surgery?
It takes 5-6 days to recover from laser surgery. You will be required to apply antibiotic ointment to the treated areas 3-5 times daily.
It is recommended you take a short break from sexual intercourse until 9 days after laser surgery. Your PPP free skin is fragile & requires a short break from trauma.
Is laser a permanent fix for pearly penile papules?
In most cases yes, the results are permanent. In a minority of patients, a smaller laser procedure can be performed years (or months) after the first, should there be recurrence.
Is laser surgery painful?
No, laser surgery is painless as we use a special numbing gel. The procedure takes between 10 to 25 minutes to perform. After laser surgery, there is no pain. We also provide after care kits to aid in faster healing.
What are other treatments for pearly penile papules?
Lasers offer the best & safest solution for PPP; however other treatments include-
Diathermy: using electrocautery. This method was used prior the development of lasers. The chance of scarring is much higher in comparison to ablative lasers. This technique is practiced in third world countries including Africa & Asia.
Medium to deep peels: can be used as focal spot application. This method is used in third world countries. The most common peeling agent is TCA.
What about DIY PPP kits?
Are you freakin’ serious? You are about to use an electric heating device mass produced in China for about $4 bucks (add 4000% mark-up) to treat the only manhood you got?
It is not about ‘can a treatment be effective’ (think battery acid), it is about safety, efficacy & follow ups. Think carefully about DIY treatments on your penis.
Are pearly penile papules contagious?
Nope. You cannot catch PPPs, nor can you transmit PPPs. These lesions are called angiofibromas & occur in one third of males. For circumcised males the incidence drops to one in twenty men.
How can I arrange a private consultation virtually before treatment?
Our treating dermatologist (Dr Sarath) offers virtual consultations prior to laser removal. Send a confidential email & my staff will arrange a virtual consultation with Dr Sarath. Virtual consultations will expedite treatment as our specialists can diagnose & implement a treatment plan.
Note: I do not treat PPP or genital conditions, my colleague sub-specialises in this condition.
What is the cost of laser surgery for pearly penile papules?
$1590- $1990 per treatment. For extensive PPPs (less than 10% of cases) we may recommend two sessions (as this reduces side effects such as scarring). If a second session is required, discounts apply.
Note: if you suffer from extensive PPP that circumferentially affects the head of the penis, you are far better off splitting your treatments into two sessions. With one session, extensive ulceration may occur, hence it is safer to laser 8 weeks apart. Our dermatologists will guide you.
What are Fordyce spots & how do they differ from pearly penile papules?
Fordyce spots are common lesions that occur on the shaft of the penis. In contrast PPP occur around the head of the penis. Fordyce spots are due to ectopic sebaceous glands. Both PPP & Fordyce spots may occur together. The treatment of Fordyce spots is similar to PPP, however with the former, they do recur- unlike PPP.
Will circumcision cure PPP or reduce recurrence?
No, however penile papules are much more common in uncircumcised males (up to 30%), in comparison to circumcised males (about 5%). Circumcision in later adult life will not cure PPP, however may, in some cases, prevent PPP from occurring.
Why check the credentials of your laser specialist?
There are some GPs (primarily on the Gold Coast of Queensland), who claim to be
‘experts’ in the treatment of PPP. We encourage patients to ask your GP as to recommendations as to whom they would refer to- a cosmetic doctor or a specialist dermatologist?
Does Medicare cover PPP treatment?
No. Medicare rebates apply for the consultation (either in person or virtual), however there is no rebate for genital PPPs, in comparison to facial angiofibromas.
Our dermatologist charges a private fee. If you would prefer to be seen in a public hospital, most dermatology, urology & plastic surgery outpatient departments will have access to a CO2 or erbium laser.
Davin’s viewpoint on cosmetic treatments for men
PPP or pearly penile papules are a frequent source of concern for men. The fact remains that, they are commonly seen in up to one third of men- especially uncircumcised males. The number & size vary amongst individuals. In most males they number between 6-12, however in some they may have well over a hundred lesions. PPP occurs almost exclusively on the head of the penis, known as the corona.
Understandably these lesions can be alarming, especially for your sexual partner (who may not have PPP). Penile papules can hence be embarrassing, & consequently warrant removal.
My colleagues at Cutis Dermatology can treat PPPs with accuracy, using the most technologically advanced lasers. They employ small spot CO2 & erbium lasers to target lesions as small as 1 mm in diameter.
To expedite treatment, my colleagues offer a virtual consultation service prior to laser surgery.
Disclaimer: I do not treat PPP, or genital disorders. I may be called for a second opinion; however, I do not get involved in management.
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