Aim: Phimosis is a common paediatric urological disorder and often necessitates circumcision. We prospectively evaluated local steroid therapy (LST) as the first choice therapy for such children.
Methods: Two hundred and sixty symptomatic boys up to 15 years of age (mean 34 months) with phimosis were started on betamethasone dipropionate (0.05%) application on gently stretched prepuce twice a day. Follow-up visits were arranged at the end of weeks 1, 2 and 4 and 6 months. Grade of phimosis was objectively graded.
Results: Ninety one percent of the boys showed a successful outcome at the end of 4 weeks; 72% responded in first week, further 16% responded in week 2, and only 2.6% achieved alleviation of phimosis on further application of LST beyond 2 weeks. Fourty two (17.8%) boys had a recurrence of phimosis on a long-term follow-up (mean – 25.4 months, range 6–48 months); thus, the long-term success rate was 77%, while 60 (23%) boys underwent surgery.
Conclusion: Local steroid therapy is safe and successful in alleviating symptomatic tight foreskin in a large majority of children. The response can be seen as early as 1 week; most of the children respond by week 2 and continuing therapy further may not be very effective.