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Underestimation of genital lichen sclerosus incidence in boys with phimosis: results from a systematic review



Previous histological studies have shown a variable incidence of genital lichen sclerosus (LS). However, the results of these studies were inconsistent. To overcome the limitation of individual studies, we performed this systematic review to explore the true incidence of LS.


A comprehensive search of Pubmed, Embase, Web of Science and Cochrane Library was performed including cross-referencing independently by two assessors.


A total of 22 articles published from 1980 to 2017 were included in our study. The proportion of LS in those with phimosis had been described in many literature studies, ranging from 2 to 95%. The actual incidence of LS is thought to be clinically underestimated by as much as 50%.


The true incidence of LS in boys is more common than previously realized. LS may be observed in foreskin with or without phimosis. The presence of acquired phimosis may be an aggravating factor in the incidence of LS. The diagnosis LS must be based on biopsy for acquired phimosis because clinical findings underestimated the incidence of LS.

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This work was supported by Health and Family Planning Commission of Sichuan Province Research Projects (Project no. 18PJ038).

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Correspondence to Changkai Deng.

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Li, J., Deng, C. & Peng, Q. Underestimation of genital lichen sclerosus incidence in boys with phimosis: results from a systematic review. Pediatr Surg Int 34, 1245–1250 (2018).

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  • Children
  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Prevalence
  • Systematic review