THE PROVINCE, Vancouver, British Columbia, Monday, July 24, 2006.


Coquitlam man's circumcision reversed

Procedure originally done by priests as punishment

Yumimi Pang; With a file from David Carrigg, The Province
Published: Monday, July 24, 2006

Dr. Stubbs

A Coquitlam man who suffered for decades because of a botched circumcision has had his foreskin restored, thanks to B.C. taxpayers.

Paul Tinari said that, since his surgery in May, he's out of pain and enjoying sex in ways he never could before. "It worked out really, really well," he said. "It's totally functional. It works better."

Tinari, 48, is one of the first men in Canada to have the government pick up the tab for this surgery. The B.C. Health Ministry paid for 90 per cent of his $12,000 bill and Tinari hopes it will set a precedent for other men.

"I really wanted them to cover [my surgery] and it would be preferable if they would cover other people, as well," he said.

Foreskin reconstruction had been a lifelong quest for Tinari, who told The Province he was circumcised at age eight by priests at a Montreal boarding school as punishment for masturbating.

In Victorian times, some physicians believed amputation of the foreskin was a way to prevent the "ills of masturbation."

"It was on a desk," said Tinari, describing how he was held down to perform the procedure without pain medication.

"They removed so much skin, there was not enough to accommodate an erection," said Tinari, who has since become an advocate for banning non-consensual circumcision.

As a kid, he thought erections were meant to be painful "as a punishment from God."

Tinari also suffered chronic skin infections and said intercourse was painful at times.

Tinari, who is an avid runner, would even get salt burns on his penis as a result of sweat.

"Every single day, I was in pain and this was totally unnecessary," he said, adding that other men he talked to had similar problems.

Tinari, who holds a PhD in engineering, decided to become an expert. He researched circumcision for 30 years and considered foreskin restoration, but the cost stood in his way.

Then Tinari found the backing of health professionals. His psychologist said he would benefit and his urologist called his circumcision "one of the worst" he'd ever seen.

Tinari discovered Toronto plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Stubbs, whose work on genitalia is widely recognized.

"There is no specific fee code in the [Medical Services Plan] billing system for this type of procedure," said a Health Ministry official. "In rare and extenuating circumstances, the ministry may provide coverage."

Tinari's surgery was a two-part procedure and he spent about four weeks recovering.

He said that surgery has improved his sex life, he is no longer irritated by his clothing and running is more comfortable.

"I heartily encourage other men who are unhappy with their circumcisions to go ahead and do this the way I did," said Tinari.

Details of Tinari's operation were reported in the June 2006 National Review of Medicine. © The Vancouver Province 2006

(File created 25 July 2006)