Hidradenitis suppurativa

M G Buimer, T Wobbes, J H G Klinkenbijl
British Journal of Surgery 2009, 96 (4): 350-60

BACKGROUND: Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic, recurrent, suppurative cutaneous disease. Despite its incidence, optimal medical or surgical treatment remains unclear. This review describes the disease, ranging from pathogenesis to treatment and prognosis.

METHODS: Articles were sourced from PubMed and Medline, using the MeSH terms 'hidradenitis suppurativa' and 'acne inversa'. Selection of articles was based on peer review, journal, relevance and English language.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: On the basis of histological findings, the disease is now considered inflammatory and originating from the hair follicle; therefore, the term 'acne inversa' is favoured by some experts. The exact aetiology remains obscure but smoking seems to be a major triggering factor. Treatment should be individualized according to the site and extent of the disease. Absolute cessation of smoking is essential in the treatment of hidradenitis. Management with antibiotics or other medications may relieve early symptoms, but radical surgery may be necessary for control and to prevent recurrence.

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