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Treating phimosis

Paddy A Dewan
Med J Aust 2003; 178 (4): 148-150.

First, let's decide what we really mean by phimosis

Circumcision remains a topic of significant debate in Australia, even though there has been a marked reduction in the rate of circumcision in this country, which has reflected that of England, where 95% of boys were circumcised in the 1930s, declining to 6.5% in the early 1980s.1 In this issue of the Journal (page 155), Spilsbury and colleagues report that many boys are circumcised for phimosis before the age of five years, despite phimosis being rare in boys of this age.2 They reviewed all circumcisions in Western Australian hospitals between 1981 and 1999, recording that the rate of medically indicated circumcisions increased during that period, and that, if the 1999 rate remains stable, it would be seven times the expected incidence of phimosis in the group of boys aged less than 15 years. These findings imply a high rate of unnecessary surgery, similar to the findings from studies conducted in England.1,3

  • Paddy A Dewan

  • Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, VIC.

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