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J Pediatr Surg. 2005 Apr;40(4):709-12.

The response of clinical balanitis xerotica obliterans to the application of topical steroid-based creams.

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Department of Paediatric Urology, Sheffield Children's Hospital, S10 2TH Sheffield, UK. <>



The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of using topical steroid-based creams in the management of clinically diagnosed balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO) in boys.


The response in 56 boys to locally applied steroid-based creams was studied retrospectively. All had been referred by their general practitioners with symptoms of penile pathology and then subsequently had a clinical diagnosis of BXO made. The boys were initially assessed after 3 months of treatment and then at various intervals depending on their response.


The mean age at presentation of the boys was 8.9 (4 to 15) years. After the initial 3-month assessment, 10 (17.9%) boys had complete resolution. When the treatment period was prolonged by an average of 14 months, the total number of boys showing resolution increased to 17 (30.4%). All boys showing resolution had clinically mild BXO limited to the prepuce only. Those patients with established scar formation on the foreskin showed no significant improvement.


Topical steroids seem to offer a reliable option only in the management of mild BXO limited to the prepuce in boys with minimal scar formation. Steroid-based creams can be offered to such patients provided they and their families are realistic as to the likelihood of success. This treatment is ineffective in the face of established scarring.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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