JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Surgical approach to extensive hidradenitis suppurativa in the perineal/perianal and gluteal regions.

BACKGROUND: Verneuil's disease, or hidradenitis suppurativa, is a chronic suppurative disease with a tendency to sinus formation, fibrosis, and sclerosis. It is a disease of the apocrine sweat glands and may arise from each of the localizations where apocrine glands are prominent: axilla, nipples, umbilicus, perineum, groin, and buttocks. Extensive hidradenitis suppurativa of the perineal/perianal and the gluteal regions constitute a serious social problem. In this study, we present our experience with stage III extensive hidradenitis suppurativa cases, including our treatment methods and patient outcomes.

METHODS: A retrospective review of the medical records from January 1990 to July 2003 of 15 patients was performed.

RESULTS: Fifteen patients underwent treatment for extensive hidradenitis suppurativa in the gluteal, perineal/perianal, and inguinal areas with total surgical excision. All patients were men (100%) and their mean age was 42.5 (range, 23-66) years. The patients underwent a total number of 21 operations. In 11 patients wounds were left open for secondary healing, and the mean time for complete wound healing in this group was 12.2 (range, 9.5-22) weeks. Two patients underwent primary wound closure by the application of rotation flaps, and their complete healing times were observed to be approximately 2 weeks. Delayed skin grafting was used for the remaining two patients in whom the wounds had been left open after the initial operation. In this group, complete wound healing took a total of 8 weeks. Only one diverting colostomy was needed in a patient in the delayed skin-grafting group. Squamous cell carcinoma was diagnosed in the specimens of one patient treated with total excision followed by the application of a rotation flap. This patient had had complaints of gluteal discharge for approximately 30 years. The cancer recurred after 6 months in the perianal region and immediate abdominoperineal resection was performed. He died during the second postoperative month due to systemic spread of the malignancy. At the end of a 5-year mean follow-up period, all remaining patients had no evidence of disease.

CONCLUSIONS: Conservative treatment methods have little or no effect on extensive perineal/perianal hidradenitis suppurativa. Therefore, total surgical excision must be considered for these patients to prevent further complications, such as abscess, sinus tract formation, fistulization, and scarring. A temporary stoma may be needed in some cases. Because wound management after total excision is performed via different methods according to each individual patient, multidisciplinary team work is necessary and the patients often require a long hospital stay. If the treatment is not performed in an appropriate manner or if the patients are not followed closely until definitive healing, recurrence is almost inevitable. Despite the low incidence of accompanying squamous cell carcinoma, it is the most serious complication. We evaluated 15 patients to present our experience with extensive perineal/perianal and gluteal hidradenitis suppurativa.

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