Do Pearly Penile Papules grow back after treatment?

Last updated: 2022-10-11

Pearly penile papules, or PPP, are unsightly growths that form in one or several rows along the rim or the underside of the penile head. Although benign and not contagious, having them can cause severe worry and anxiety in men, who may mistake them for something else.

Researchers have yet to understand what causes them and how they develop, so males with PPP are often left wondering how to manage the situation. Some may even attempt to remove them using different methods—which can do more harm than good.

Doctors consider PPP a normal anatomical deviation, and treatments aren't recommended unless the papules cause severe issues in a patient. As a skin condition, dermatologists often perform any available treatment options.

This article discusses the most common PPP removal procedures and their effectiveness in permanently removing pearly penile papules.

Pearly Penile Papules diagnosis

The anatomy of pearly penile papules

Before discussing how to treat and manage PPP, it's crucial to understand what pearly penile papules are made of.

As mentioned earlier, the cause of PPP is still unknown. However, men may be prone to PPP if they have an overgrowth of collagen, dilated blood vessels, and fibroblasts. According to research, these bumps possess the same features as angiofibroma. Because of this, PPP can't be removed using topical solutions used in home treatments, like oils and creams.

Do penile papules go away?

Pearly penile papules are finger-like or dome-shaped lumps that become especially visible on an erect penis or when uncircumcised men pull back their foreskin. They don't change in color, size, shape, or spread once they form. They won't go away without medical intervention, although they may fade with age.

Treatment options for PPP and their results

A few medical procedures are used to eliminate pearly penile papules, including lasers, electrosurgery, cryotherapy, and excisional surgery. If you’re asking: “When does PPP come back?” or “Do pearly papules grow back after treatment?”

Here's a brief discussion of each PPP treatment option and its post-procedural efficacy:

1. Electrosurgery

Electrodesiccation or electrosurgery describes an electrosurgical tool's use to cauterize or "vaporize" the papules. After the procedure, the doctor uses a blunt medical device called a curette to scrape off the destroyed tissue. This procedure is also known as hyfrecation.

Will PPP grow back after electrosurgery?

Electrosurgery has been used in several applications for decades and is a popular treatment for moles, warts, and skin tags. It also dries out the blemishes effectively. In most cases, the bumps become completely cleared after electrosurgery and don't grow back.

2. Cryotherapy

Instead of using heat, cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen on the affected area to freeze the penile lumps. The extreme cold causes the cells and tissues to die, forming a scab that falls off. Besides PPP removal, this method also eliminates skin tags, warts, and some tumors.

Will PPP grow back after cryotherapy?

A 2019 review of the different PPP modes of treatment revealed that cryosurgery procedures might need to be done twice in some cases, with 90% efficacy. However, there aren't reported cases of PPP recurrence after cryotherapy.

3. Laser treatments

Carbon dioxide laser therapy uses heat-emitting laser lights to remove unsightly penile growths, as it evaporates the superficial levels of the skin without harming the unaffected sections of the penis. Most prefer this type of PPP treatment due to reduced downtimes and minimal risks of scarring.

Will PPP grow back after laser treatments?

After the treatment, scabs will form and eventually fall off, taking with them the remains of the destroyed papules. New tissues will appear without the pesky bumps. In most cases, only one session is needed. Using laser treatments, including pulsed dye lasers for PPP, is most effective in permanently removing the bumps and preventing them from recurring.

4. Radiosurgery

Besides using heat and liquid nitrogen, doctors can also expose the papule to safe radiation levels targeting the affected area to remove penile bumps. This medical procedure, called radiosurgery, can also destroy the PPP, eventually allowing them to fall off.

Will PPP grow back after radiosurgery?

Radiosurgery is said to minimize the risk of damaging the surrounding tissues, reducing downtime and the threats of scarring on the affected site. Like the other treatment methods discussed above, bumps don't reappear after the procedure.

5. Excisional surgery

Unlike other treatment modalities, excisional surgery involves a doctor slicing through your skin to eliminate pearly penile papules. Once cut or removed, the surgeon will tighten the skin. For this reason, excisional surgery carries higher risks of infection and scarring if the patient isn't careful.

Will PPP grow back after excisional surgery?

Similarly, the doctor must be skilled at performing PPP removal surgery to minimize such adverse effects. However, there aren't known recurrences after excisional surgery.


Pearly penile papules are harmless skin bumps that can be removed using several treatment methods, as discussed above. Besides treatment costs and the devices used, there are no significant differences between the various modalities for PPP removal. In most cases, these procedures provide long-term and permanent results, even if sometimes two sessions may be required.

If you have pearly penile papules, visit us at PPP KIT to know more about the best treatment options. We can help you solve your PPP problems.