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Int J Dermatol. 2009 Sep;48(9):960-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04128.x. Epub 2009 Jul 13.

External urethral stenosis: a latent effect of sulfur mustard two decades post-exposure.

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  • 1Janbazan Medical and Engineering Research Center, Tehran, Iran.



Sulfur mustard (SM), a chemical weapon used widely during World War I and against Iranians during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, causes massive inflammatory tissue damage in the immediate post-exposure period, resulting in debilitating chronic disease in years to decades following contact with the agent. These syndromes most often are pathologies of the lungs, eyes, and skin, the primary target organs of SM. Typically, they are characterized by severe and increasingly painful inflammation, often accompanied by fibrosis and constriction of the anatomic channels needed for normal life, such as the small airways of the lungs and, in the present report, the urethra.


The present case study is a 43-year-old man with a history of heavy SM exposure to the groin in 1984.


Within 1 year after exposure, the patient was found to have developed meatal stricture, occlusion of the external urethral meatus, and difficulty in urination. Two years post-exposure, he underwent ventral meatotomy and meatoplasty.


This case presents a unique example of the latent effects of SM exposure to the groin, and will be of value in the prevention of similar injury and complications to persons at risk of SM exposure in the future.

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