What Is Lysis of Clitoral Adhesions?

What Is Lysis of Clitoral Adhesions?

The clitoris, a crucial organ in the female reproductive system, has over 10,000 nerve endings and plays a pivotal role in sexual pleasure and sensations. However, various conditions can affect its proper function, including the formation of adhesions. Clitoral adhesions occur when the clitoral hood (the protective fold of skin that covers the glans clitoris) adheres to the glans clitoris, impeding the movement of the hood and causing discomfort. To address this issue, medical professionals often recommend a procedure known as lysis of clitoral adhesions.

While clitoral adhesions can occur at any age, they are most commonly observed in young girls or women who have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) or circumcision. The fusion of the clitoral hood to the glans clitoris can result from inflammation, trauma, infection, or improper hygiene. This condition can cause pain, discomfort, and sexual dysfunction, negatively impacting an individual’s quality of life.

Understanding Lysis of Clitoral Adhesions

Lysis of clitoral adhesions is a procedure for separating the fused tissues of the clitoral hood and the glans clitoris. It is done in a doctor’s office and does not involve any cutting or sewing. First, a strong numbing cream is put on the clitoris to make it less sensitive. Then, special tools, such as a fine Jacobsen mosquito forceps, are used to carefully separate the clitoral hood from the glans clitoris. If there is any buildup of smegma or keratin pearls, the practitioner will wipe it away at this time. The dissection of the adhered tissues is meant to restore the clitoris’s mobility and functionality.

Benefits of Lysis of Clitoral Adhesions

The primary benefit of lysis of clitoral adhesions is the restoration of clitoral function and alleviation of associated symptoms. By separating the fused tissues, the procedure can relieve pain, discomfort, and sexual dysfunction. Additionally, for individuals who have undergone FGM or circumcision and have scarring that contributes to clitoral adhesions, lysis of clitoral adhesions can help mitigate the adverse effects of these harmful practices.

Potential Risks and Complications

While lysis of clitoral adhesions is generally considered safe, like many medical procedures, it carries certain risks and potential complications. These risks may include bleeding, infection, scarring, and recurrence of adhesions. It is essential for individuals considering this procedure to discuss the potential risks with their healthcare provider and weigh them against the expected benefits.


Clitoral adhesions can significantly impact a woman’s physical and emotional well-being, potentially harming her sexual function and quality of life. By restoring clitoral function and alleviating associated symptoms, lysis of clitoral adhesions can improve the sexual health and mental wellbeing of affected individuals. In the end, lysis of clitoral adhesions can be an important procedure in women’s healthcare, offering relief to those experiencing pain, discomfort, and/or reduced sexual sensations due to clitoral adhesions.


  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2018). Female genital mutilation or cutting. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 795. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 132(5), e210-e216.

  • Flynn, A. N., King, M., Rieff, M., Krapf, J., & Goldstein, A. T. (2015). Patient Satisfaction of Surgical Treatment of Clitoral Phimosis and Labial Adhesions Caused by Lichen Sclerosus. Sexual medicine3(4), 251–255. https://doi.org/10.1002/sm2.90

  • Goldstein, A. T., & Burrows, L. J. (2007). Surgical treatment of clitoral phimosis caused by lichen sclerosus. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology196(2), 126.e1–126.e1264. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2006.08.023

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