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Child Abuse

Balanitis in Children

11/16/2006

Question:

Is it possible for balanitis in a 9 month old boy to have the appearance of a burn?

Answer:

Balanitis is inflammation of the glans (tip) of the penis.  This inflammation typically causes the skin to be reddened and swollen.  Occasionally the skin is ulcerated.  There are many causes of balanitis.

Burns also cause the skin to appear red and can result in blistering if deep.

It may be possible to confuse these two conditions but it would seem unlikely.  If there is a question about the differential diagnosis, the clinical course may clarify the issue.  Second opinions may be possible if photographs of the penis were obtained. 

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Response by:

Robert Shapiro, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati