|ICD-10 N48.0 Leukoplakia of penis|
Balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO), also known as lichen sclerosus of penis is a dermatological (skin) condition affecting the male genitalia. It was first described by Stuhmer in 1928, though earlier reports describe what may have been the same condition. BXO commonly occurs on the foreskin and glans penis. Atrophic white patches appear on the affected area, and commonly, a whitish ring of indurated (hardened) tissue usually forms near the tip that may prevent retraction.
- Relationship to phimosis
- Relationship to lichen sclerosus
It has been regarded as identical to lichen sclerosus of penis, though this may be incorrect. It has also been named leukoplakia of penis and kraurosis of penis.
What causes balanitis xerotica obliterans is uncertain. However, some possibilities have been suggested.
Some studies have shown that patients with the condition also show signs of suffering from autoimmune disorders. However, this finding is not repeated in every study.
Infection from "human papilloma virus (serotype 16 in particular), spirochetes and atypical mycobacteria" has also been suggested as a cause. Additional suggestions include "pemphigus vulgaris and chronic nonspecific bacterial balanitis".
Relationship to phimosis
Balanitis xerotica obliterans is a common cause of pathological phimosis.
Kiss et al. report that 40% of boys with phimosis suffered from Balanitis xerotica obliterans. Shankar and Rickwood reported Balanitis xerotica obliterans in 84% of phimosis patients. Evans reported Balanitis xerotica obliterans in 10.5% of phimosis patients. Clemmensen et al. reported Balanitis xerotica obliterans in 14.2% of phimosis patients. Bale reported that Balanitis xerotica obliterans was found in 19% of circumcisions performed for diseases of the prepuce and penis. Mattioli observed Balanitis xerotica obliterans in 60% of patients with acquired phimosis and 30% of patients with congenital phimosis. Rickwood reported Balanitis xerotica obliterans in 20 of 21 patients circumcised for pathological phimosis.
Relationship to lichen sclerosus
Many researchers regard Balanitis xerotica obliterans as lichen sclerosus et atrophicus (LSA) of the penis, LSA is also known as lichen sclerosus (LS). Lately Balanitis xerotica obliterans was coded as part of LSA by Medical literature search tool Medline. However, Mallon et al. suggest that Balanitis xerotica obliterans "may be a consequence of other fibrosing dermatoses, such as lichen planus and cicatricial pemphigoid." When occurring on the male genitals, the term 'Balanitis xerotica obliterans' is traditionally used.
There is no known means of preventing BXO. However, one study reports that the data "suggest that circumcision prevents or protects against common infective penile dermatoses."
BXO is chronic and often progressive. Please see the following section on treatment.
The condition may cause pain, irritation, and disturbance of sexual function.
In later stages, a meatal stricture may occur, causing urinary retention. This may result in bladder or kidney damage.
The coronal sulcus and frenulum may be destroyed.
Phimosis or paraphimosis may occur.
Several studies indicate that BXO may play a pre-cancerous role, resulting in squamous cell carcinoma of the penis, a form of penile cancer.
Neuhaus and Skidmore report that "Tzanck smear and cutaneous biopsy, along with a rapid protein reagin test, will provide a definitive diagnosis."
Depasquale et al. note that many surgeons do not send circumcision specimens for histology. They caution that this practice "is becoming medicolegally indefensible in a litigation-conscious society, where the clinical sequelae of BXO are often misinterpreted by the patient as surgical errors."
In a study involving applying a cream and stretching the foreskin twice daily, the treatment appeared effective for 9 out of the 12 individuals with penile lichen sclerosus, which is believed to be equivalent or very related to BXO.
Preputioplasty can cure BXO, according to a study in which the specific technique involved triradiate preputial incisions and injection of triamcinolone intralesionally.
Therapy focuses on prevention of disease progression.
Shelley reported some success with long-term antibiotic therapy. However, relapses were seen upon stopping treatment.
Some success has been reported with topical steroids, when scarring is minimal, though some have found this ineffectual.
Moderate therapeutic results have been reported using etretinate.
Some success has been reported in the use of carbon dioxide laser therapy.
Many authors report that tight circumcision is the treatment of first choice, with modifications if necessary. Pasieczny suggests testosterone ointment, however.
Glansectomy may be required.
The true prevalence of Balanitis xerotica obliterans is controversial and unclear. One study calculated a rate of 0.6% of boys are affected by their 15th birthdays. Another reported a rate of 0.07%. However, a review noted that "with a high degree of suspicion and histologic examination, the condition will prove to be much more frequent than one generally believes." Another suggested that "more cases would be diagnosed during infancy if all dried foreskin were examined systematically." Another remarked that the condition "may be misdiagnosed or ignored in the young boy." Yet another commented that "its true incidence is not appreciated because most cases are cured by circumcision, and unfortunately many surgeons still fail to send their circumcision specimens for histology." Another remarked that the "extent of asymptomatic disease in this series would suggest the true prevalence of LS in men might be much higher than published work suggests."
According to some authors, the disease most frequently affects middle-aged men. However, a large study reported that the age distribution was similar from 2 to 90 years of age, except for men in their twenties, who were at twice the risk. The same study found that black and Hispanic men had approximately twice the risk of white men. The authors suggested possible reasons for this, including access to health care, differences in neonatal circumcision rates, and climate differences.
Mallon et al. found that Balanitis xerotica obliterans was related to circumcision status. Adjusting for age, lack of circumcision was associated with an odds ratio of 53.55. The finding was statistically significant. However, Balanitis xerotica obliterans has also been noted to occur after late circumcision, especially when performed for phimosis.