Topical steroid application versus circumcision in pediatric patients with phimosis: a prospective randomized placebo controlled clinical trial
Topical steroids have been advocated as an effective alternative treatment to circumcision in boys with phimosis. We evaluated the effectiveness of topical steroid therapy compared to a placebo neutral cream in 240 patients with phimosis.
A prospective study was carried out over a 24-months period, on an out-patient basis on two groups of patients with phimosis. One-hundred twenty patients applied a steroid cream twice a day for 4 weeks, and another group of 120 pts used a placebo cream twice a day for 4 weeks. Patients were assigned to either group by a computer-generated random choice.
All patients in our series completed the two treatment periods without interruption. At a median follow-up of 20 months (6–30 months) therapeutic success was obtained in 43.75% (99/240) of cases, independently of the protocol. In particular, therapeutic success was obtained in 65.8% (79/120) of cases in the steroids group and in 16.6% (20/120) of cases in the placebo group, the difference being statistically significant (P < 0.0001, Mann–Withney test).
Our study shows that topical steroids represent a good alternative to surgery in case of phimosis. Steroid therapy using monometasone furoate 0.1% in our series gave better results that placebo with an overall efficacy of 65.8%. In patients where a phimotic ring persist after steroid therapy, circumcision is mandatory.