Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans and Its Differential Diagnosis

Isaac M. Neuhaus, and Robert A. Skidmore, MD,


J Am Board Fam Med. 1999;12(6) 

In This Article


Currently there is no curative therapy for balanitis xerotica obliterans. There are, however, many therapeutic options available to limit involvement and relieve symptoms. High-potency topical corticosteroids (ie, clobetasol 0.05% ointment) are shown to be effective in women with lichen sclerosus et atrophicus and are currently the treatment of choice for balanitis xerotica obliterans.[7,8] Alternatively, intralesional corticosteroid injections have been proposed. In cases of urethral involvement and stenosis, meatotomy or urethral dilation might be required. Circumcision can relieve symptoms of phimosis and often results in remission. Alternatively, carbon dioxide laser therapy might be an option should a patient not respond to more conservative treatments.[9,10,11] Despite the limitations of the current therapeutic options, reports have shown that balanitis xerotica obliterans is usually restricted to those men who had circumcisions later in life, whereas neonatal circumcision appears to prevent the development of this disorder.[12] In addition to symptomatic treatment and preventative measures, patients need regular follow-up visits (every 12 months), because squamous cell carcinoma arising from the lesions of balanitis xerotica obliterans has been reported.[13,14]


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