Marjolin’s Ulcer in Chronic Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Rare Complication of an Often Neglected Disease

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Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic, debilitating disease with definitive treatment consisting of wide surgical excision of all affected tissue. Originally described in burns, Marjolin’s ulcer (MU) has been described in a variety of wound types, including hidradenitis. HS patients often have long delays to diagnosis and management of their chronic wounds, leading to increased risk of MU. A retrospective review of our burn database was performed from 2008 to 2014. Seventy-two consecutive patients taken to the operating room for HS were retrospectively evaluated for demographic data, number of excisions, total area of excised skin, need for skin grafting, pathology results, and outcome. Fifty-eight percent of patients were male. Mean age was 36.88 ± 13.52 years. Mean size of excision was 743.71 ± 774.75 cm2. Total number of operative procedures was 187, averaging 2.612 per patient, with 52% of patients undergoing skin grafting. Two patients had confirmed pathology of squamous cell carcinoma. Both were women with perineal HS and had metastatic disease on further workup. Both patients underwent chemotherapy and radiation with progression of their disease. The incidence of MU of 2.78% in this study is similar to the 2% incidence described historically in the burn population. All practitioners who treat HS patients should be aware of the devastating complication of MU arising in the chronic wound bed. We recommend that all excised tissue be sent to pathology for evaluation, and to consider early wide local excision of any chronically inflamed tissues to alleviate the risk of MU for this patient population.

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