World Journal of Urology

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 382–387 | Cite as

Balanitis xerotica obliterans – a review

  • Sakti Das
  • H. S. G. R. Tunuguntla


Balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO) is a scarcely known disease, wrongly considered rare. With a high degree of suspicion and histologic examination, the condition will prove to be much more frequent than one generally believes. The etiology of the condition is unknown at present. Many cases of BXO occurring after circumcision may be cases of secondary phimosis due to BXO not being recognized at the time of surgery. Most of the cases of BXO are seen in the third to fifth decades of life, even though they may occur at the extremes of age. Biopsy of the lesions is not essential in all cases and is indicated to differentiate from penile cancer and in atypical cases. Early diagnosis and treatment of BXO are very important in preventing the urological complications of the diseases such as urethral stricture. Treatment of BXO depends on the anatomic location of the lesions and their extent and severity, together with the rapidity of progression of the disease process. The treatment may vary from topical corticosteroids, laser vaporization in early cases to meatoplasty and urethroplasty in extensive cases. Topical pharmacotherapy is useful in the early stages to reduce the initial symptoms and slow down the progression, but is not effective in all cases and is not the curative treatment of disease. Meatal stenosis, phimosis, scar adhesions, fissures, erosions of glans and prepuce and involvement of the urethra are indications for surgical treatment. Surgery seems to be the only treatment that can relieve the symptoms of advanced disease. Modified circumcision, with total removal of inner preputial layer, definitively relieves phimosis without any recurrence. Meatotomy will not prevent the recurrence of meatal stenosis. Excision of the scleroatrophic tract and grafting of the glans base, coronal sulcus, and the end of the shaft give a complete relief of pain during erection and intercourse in circumcised patients with balanopreputial adhesions and restore the elasticity of the skin of penile shaft. These procedures have been shown to yield excellent functional results during a follow-up period of up to 4 years. BXO involving anterior urethra can be treated by 2-stage urethroplasty or substitution urethroplasty. The complete excision of the stricture and flap urethroplasty seems to be better than a 2-stage procedure. However, at the present time, it is not possible to say that surgery can completely resolve this chronic and progressive disease. Despite many reports in the literature of cases of BXO associated with squamous cell carcinoma, the etiologic relationship between the two conditions is uncertain.


Squamous Cell Carcinoma Topical Corticosteroid Laser Vaporization Urethral Stricture Penile Cancer 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sakti Das
    • 1
  • H. S. G. R. Tunuguntla
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Urology, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, 4860 Y Street, Suite 3500, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA e-mail: Tel: +1-916-7346491, 916-4868544; Fax: +1-916-7348094US
  2. 2.Department of Urology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Raebareli Road, Lucknow-226014, Uttar Pradesh, IndiaIN

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