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Dramatic improvements reported after surgery for hidradenitis suppurativa



A retrospective German study found that the majority of patients who underwent radical surgical treatment for hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) reported dramatic improvement after the procedure, with many saying they no longer suffered from everyday impairment from the disease.

“We were able to show that surgical therapy resulted in convincing improvement of life quality and long-term results for HS that are at least as effective as biologicals,” the researchers wrote. The study was published online in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

Lukas Kofler, MD, and associates from the department of dermatology at Eberhard Karls University’s University Medical Center, Tübingen, Germany, surveyed 910 of the facility’s patients who had undergone wide local excision for HS from 2006 to 2015. Surgery was “designed to reach into clinically disease-free subcutaneous fatty tissue,” followed by second intention healing, they wrote.

A total of 255 patients answered the survey, a response rate of 28%. There were 103 men and 152 women with a median age of 38 years (range, 14-66 years); 75% reported prior “nicotine abuse.” Almost half had been treated previously, most often with systemic antibiotics in 68%. The mean follow-up time was 57 months (range, 19-127 months);

All cases were Hurley grade III. Just over three-quarters of the patients described disease-related limitations in private life prior to surgery as “very strong” or “strong,” and 95% reported that their day-to-day life was impaired. Sixty percent said the disease impaired their work life (another 8% were not employed).

After surgery, 27% experienced postoperative complications, including minor bleeding, infection, and limited mobility; 65% experienced pain but 38% of the patients required analgesics postoperatively.

After surgery, 80% were satisfied or very satisfied with the results, and more than two-thirds were satisfied with the cosmetic results. Just over half said their private life was not impaired by the disease at all, compared with 3% who said so before surgery. After surgery, 20% reported being strongly or very strongly impaired, compared with 77% before surgery.


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