Purpose: We evaluated the efficacy of 0.05% betamethasone cream for the treatment of pre-pubertal labial adhesions.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 19 children with labial adhesions who were treated with betamethasone cream from 6/2001 to 3/2003. Children were treated with 1 to 3 courses of twice-daily 0.05% betamethasone cream for 4 to 6 weeks. Successful lysis of adhesions was assessed by clinical exam or parental phone contact and outcomes were defined as: (1) success--complete separation of labia, (2) partial success--greater than 75% separation, (3) progression to surgical lysis, and (4) lost to follow-up.
Results: Nineteen patients with an average age of 58 months (range 12 to 132 months) were treated. Four of the 19 patients had never been treated previously and 1 had been treated previously with surgical lysis of adhesions only. Fourteen of the 19 patients had been previously treated with conjugated estrogen (Premarin) cream. Two of these fourteen patients had also undergone surgical lysis of adhesions. Severity of adhesions ranged from 33% to 99% labial closure. Betamethasone cream was successful in treating 13/19 (68%) pre-pubertal labial adhesions. Eleven (85%) of these 13 patients had complete resolution of labial adhesions with 1 course of treatment, 1 (7.5%) had resolution with 2 courses of treatment and 1 (7.5%) had resolution with 3 courses of treatment. One patient had a partial success with 3 courses of betamethasone cream. Two (11%) patients underwent surgical lysis of adhesion after 1 and 2 courses of betamethasone cream respectively. Three (16%) patients were lost to follow-up. Average follow-up was 7 months (range 1-24 months). No adverse outcomes or untoward effects were noted in any of the patients treated.
Conclusions: Betamethasone 0.05% cream appears to be a safe and effective treatment of pre-pubertal labial adhesions as primary therapy or in patients that have failed previous therapies and it may avoid the undesirable side effects of breast budding and hyperpigmentation that can be associated with Estrogen creams.