Malignant Pyoderma Associated with Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Wegener Granulomatosis) as a Unique Indication for Facial Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation: Part I

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Abstract

Background:

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener granulomatosis) is a rare disease that commonly starts in the craniofacial region and can lead to considerable facial disfigurement. Granulomas and vasculitis, however, can involve many other tissues (especially pulmonary and renal). Dermatologic and subcutaneous components can lead to malignant pyoderma.

Methods:

The authors describe a unique pathologic condition, where significant Le Fort type trauma was associated with subsequent development of granulomatosis with polyangiitis and malignant pyoderma. Successive operations to excise necrotic tissue and reconstruct the defects were followed by worsening inflammation and tissue erosions. Trauma and surgery in proximity to the eye and sinuses masked the initial clinical presentation and led to delay in diagnosis and disease progression. The resultant facial disfigurement and tissue loss were substantial.

Results:

Despite multiple confounding factors, accurate diagnosis was eventually established. This was based on persistence of sinus inflammations in the absence of infective agents, proven sterility of lung lesions, and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody positivity with proteinase 3 specificity. Skin lesion biopsy specimens were identified as pyoderma gangrenosum and later as malignant pyoderma. Institution of immunosuppressive therapy allowed successful control of the disease and wound healing. The resulting craniofacial destruction, however, necessitated facial vascularized composite allotransplantation.

Conclusion:

Recognition of this rare pathologic association is essential, to prevent delays in diagnosis and treatment that can lead to major craniofacial tissue loss.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, V.

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