Zoon’s balanitis describes inflammation of the head of the penis (glans penis) and foreskin. It usually affects middle-aged to elderly men who have not been circumcised.
The word Balanitis is derived from the Greek word Balanos, which means ‘acorn’. The ending ‘-itis’ stands for inflammation. Balanitis means inflammation of the glans penis. Zoon’s balanitis is named after Professor Zoon, a Dutch dermatologist, who described the condition in 1952. In addition to the glans penis, the foreskin is often involved.
It has also been called ‘balanitis circumscripta plasmacellularis’ because the patches are well defined, and ‘plasma cell balanitis’ because many plasma cells (a type of white blood cell) may be seen when the affected skin is examined under the microscope.