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Keywords:

  • Circumcision;
  • phimosis;
  • balanitis xerotica obliterans

Objective

To establish the incidence of pathological phimosis in boys.

Patients and methods

A 2-year review of circumcisions was performed for phimosis among a known population of boys, with the histological findings of the circumcision specimens assessed.

Results

Sixty-two boys (all but one aged 5–14 years) had typical pathological (cicatrizing) phimosis and among the 51 circumcision specimens examined histologically, 43 (84%) showed appearances of balanitis xerotica obliterans. During the same period, 30 boys were circumcised for developmental unretractability of the foreskin (‘physiological phimosis’).

Conclusions

The incidence of pathological phimosis in boys was 0.4 cases/1000 boys per year, or 0.6% of boys affected by their 15th birthday, a value lower than previous estimates and exceeded more than eight-fold by the proportion of English boys currently circumcised for ‘phimosis’.