Skin Conditions

Pearly Penile Papules

Pearly Penile Papules (PPP) are benign lesions on the corona of the penis. The lesions are unusual but do not require treatment. However, many men are self-conscious about PPP.  Their partners often worry that that they have venereal warts, a form of STD.

At the Laser Center of Maryland, we perform carbon dioxide microscopic laser excision of Pearly Penile Papules. The operating microscope enables us to focus the CO2 laser beam to a fraction of a millimeter and specifically vaporize even the smallest papules without needlessly injuring the surrounding tissue. This results in rapid healing without scarring. A specially compounded lidocaine cream is applied 50 minutes prior to procedure. The lidocaine cream provides complete comfort without needles. The skin heals completely within 7- 10 days.

Dr. Ross Van Antwerp is one of the few doctors in the country who can expertly provide this treatment to patients. Men have travel from areas around the US to receive this treatment at our in-house surgery facility here in Severna Park, MD.  Consultations can be done virtually or in person.

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Will I be comfortable after treatment, and what steps do I have to take to care for the treated area?

Your discomfort is mild following treatment. A light application of Aquaphor several times per day keeps the treated area from drying out and it also reduces irritation. Our doctors recommend comfortable and soft underwear.

When can I resume sexual relations?

The doctors advise waiting for two weeks following treatment to allow enough time for the penis to completely heal.

What are pearly penile papules (PPP), and what do they look like?

They are small non-cancerous growths that are not itchy or painful. Most men first notice them during puberty. This condition is seen in approximately 10% of men. Papules are more common in men who have not been circumcised. However, they can appear on any male.

Here is how they appear:

  • Pearly white, pink, or yellow
  • Dome-shaped or filiform (i.e. threadlike) bumps
  • Usually in 2-4 rows around the head of the penis

What is the treatment for PPP?

Dr. Ross Van Antwerp at the Laser Center of Maryland offers an innovative approach to removal of PPP.   He removes papules with the UltraPulse carbon dioxide laser under the guidance of an operating microscope.   The treatment is precise, comfortable, and has an excellent cosmetic result.

Never try to remove them yourself by popping or picking at them, and NEVER use an over the counter “wart remover” anywhere on your genitals – these solutions can cause severe skin irritation and scarring.

Does PPP spontaneously disappear?

No, it is a condition that is particular to you.  If they bother you because of their cosmetic appearance that is reason enough to have them removed.  Many men report that it boosts their confidence once they are gone.

When can I resume sexual relations?

The doctors advise waiting for two weeks following treatment to allow enough time for the penis to completely heal.

Is this condition caused by sexual contact?

No, enlarged glands around the head of the penis cause the condition. Many men want these removed, and laser treatment is an effective and cosmetically pleasing solution.

Why do some men have PPP but not others?

Experts aren’t completely sure why some men develop this condition. These lesions are not considered harmful.  Triple P occurs in men of all races and geographic location.

Is PPP contagious?

No, it is not contagious. You can’t get them through contact with a person who has them, and there is no way you can “infect” someone with them through sexual contact.  They are not an infectious condition!

Are PPP genital warts?

No, genital warts are contagious lesions caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV)- a sexually transmitted infection. Genital warts are small, cauliflower shaped growths develop on or around the anus, thighs, groin, scrotum, penis, lips, mouth, tongue, or throat.

I think I might have PPP, should I see my health care provider?

Yes, if you’re ever concerned about any lumps or bumps on your genital region, you should make an appointment with your health care provider or schedule a consultation with Dr. Ross Van Antwerp (click Here) to determine exactly what you have

I have pearly penile papules should I worry?

No! they are harmless skin growths.  Once you know the facts, there’s nothing to worry about in terms of a health issue. A simple cosmetic laser treatment will completely resolve your problem.  Say bye-bye to PPP.

Love yourself. Inside and out.

Contact us for a free,
personalized consultation

Dr. Jared Mallalieu

Dr. Mallalieu practices cosmetic surgery at the Laser Center of Maryland in Severna Park. He brings the innovation of 90210 to 21146 and beyond!


Dr. Ross VanAntwerp

A pioneer in the field of laser surgery, Dr. Ross VanAntwerp has provided patients with the latest in laser technology since 1989.

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