December 21, 1970


Author Affiliations

Springfield, Mass

JAMA. 1970;214(12):2194-2195. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180120066019

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To the Editor.—  In the paper entitled, "Whither the Foreskin," (213: 1853, 1970). Capt E. Noel Preston, MC, USAF, completely avoids one topic relating to the desirability of circumcision, namely, that of frequency of balanitis in uncircumcised males.During the year October 1967 to October 1968, I served as dermatologist at the US Naval Hospital, Danang, Republic of South Vietnam. During that time we saw in our clinic between 10 and 15 men per week suffering from acute and chronic balanitis. Some conditions were so severe as to require the patient's hospitalization. Many were so recalcitrant to therapy that it was finally necessary to perform circumcision. The number of man hours lost in active duty as a result of this problem was considerable.It was very rare to ever see balanitis occurring in circumcised males. It may, of course, be argued that Vietnam represents an unusual challenge to the skin