JOURNAL OF UROLOGY, Volume 162, Number 3, Pt 1: Pages 861-863,
September 1999.

Topical steroid treatment of phimosis in boys.

Chu CC, Chen KC, Diau GY

Department of Surgery,
Tri-Service General Hospital,
National Defense Medical Center,
Taipei, Taiwan,
Republic of China.

PURPOSE: We evaluate whether steroid application alone or retraction and hygiene are responsible for successful results in boys treated with topical steroids for phimosis.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A prospective study was performed, which included a control group of 42 patients with phimosis seen at our outpatient department from January to June 1997. During that time we trained the parent to retract and clean the foreskin only. From July 1997 to June 1998 topical steroid cream was prescribed in addition to retraction and hygiene in 276 boys with phimosis. All cases were divided into 3 subgroups of asymptomatic, symptomatic and buried penis.

RESULTS: The response rate was greater than 95% in patients who received topical steroid treatment in addition to improved hygiene. Only 13 boys (less than 5%) had no response to steroid treatment. Of the control patients 23 (55%) had no response to gentle retraction and personal hygiene. There was a significant difference (p<0.001) in response rate between the study and control groups. However, the subgroup with a buried penis responded poorly to steroid, retraction and hygiene treatment. There was significant difference (p<0.001) in response rate between the buried penis and other steroid groups but no significant difference (p>0.05) in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Phimosis is a physiological condition in neonates due to natural adhesion between the foreskin and the glans. Chronic infection due to poor hygiene is responsible for most cases of childhood phimosis. Circumcision is the traditional treatment of choice for phimosis or unretractable foreskin, although it is not always desired by parents or surgeons. Topical steroid cream is an easy, safe and nonsurgical alternative for phimosis. However, boys with a buried penis are not good candidates for steroid treatment.

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(File revised 21 January 2008)

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