Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a chronic condition of the skin that involves inflammation, abscesses and scarring. Women in the age group of 20 and 29 are at high risk for this condition although it can occur any time after puberty.
The exact cause for Hidradenitis Suppurativa is unknown. Risk factors are a family history of hidradenitis Suppurativa and the presence of other inflammatory autoimmune conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, diabetes or Crohn’s disease. Smoking is also known to be a risk factor.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa affects areas where the skin rubs together such as buttocks, thighs or regions where there are plenty of sweat and oil glands like groin, anal area and armpits. These hair follicles become inflamed and blocked.
What are the symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
Here are some of the common symptoms of the condition:
- Blackheads: Pairs of blackheads or in a double-barrelled pattern appear on the skin.
- Scarring and Tunnels: Over a period of time the lumps tend to get connected by long tracts or tunnels that do not heal easily along with scarring of the area.
- Bumps: Red bumps appear that later enlarge, open up and drain pus. The pus could have an unpleasant odor along with itching and burning of the area. Hard lumps develop in the susceptible areas that also can become inflamed and enlarged.
Long term consequences of this condition include infection, impaired functionality, scarring and rarely it could turn malignant. Routine skin care, hygiene and topical creams can help manage milder symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa. But severe cases can only be managed by surgery that can help eliminate the condition.
The pus that leaks from the bumps or tunnels can lead to infection if not treated by a professional surgeon. The infection can spread to other areas and can have serious consequences. Incision and drainage of the pus are skilfully done to avoid any complications and to get rid of the pus.
Exposing of tunnels
The tunnels are the links that connect lumps along the area of the skin affected. The tunnels make healing difficult and prolonged while also causing deep scars. A procedure called “de-roofing” done by the surgeon can break these links by cutting away the skin covering the tunnels.
Surgery to remove the lesions
For severe Hidradenitis Suppurativa that impacts quality of life and functionality, total removal is the best treatment option. Surgery involves removing the affected skin while grafting healthier skin to the part to help restore normalcy in terms of cosmetic appearance and full functionality. Total excision of the area can prevent further recurrence in the same area. The procedure requires high levels of skill and competency and is usually done under general anesthesia.
Consulting Dr. Brenner is is ideal to understand the extent of surgery or treatment that would be required to manage the condition effectively.