Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans and Its Differential Diagnosis

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

Disclosures

J Am Board Fam Med. 1999;12(6) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Background: Balanitis xerotica obliterans is a subcategory of lichen sclerosus et atrophicus limited to the male genitalia and is associated with destructive inflammation, phimosis, urethral stenosis, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Methods: The medical literature was searched from 1983-1998 using key words balanitis, lichen, and sclerosis using the MEDLINE system.
Results and Conclusions: Balanitis xerotica obliterans can be distinguished from other genital dermatoses with similar characteristics through patient history, clinical findings, and laboratory evaluation. Tzanck smear and cutaneous biopsy, along with a rapid protein reagin test, will provide a definitive diagnosis. Treatment with high-dose topical corticosteroids relieves symptoms, and therapy focuses on prevention of disease progression.

Balanitis xerotica obliterans is a subcategory of lichen sclerosus et atrophicus limited to the male genitalia.[1] It is associated with destructive inflammation, phimosis, urethral stenosis, and squamous cell carcinoma. Balanitis xerotica obliterans will often be a diagnostic challenge because of the broad differential diagnosis of genital dermatoses with similar characteristics.

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