Pyoderma Gangrenosum: A Critical Appraisal

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Abstract

GENERAL PURPOSE:

To provide information about pyoderma gangrenosum (PG), including pathophysiology, diagnostic criteria, and treatment.

TARGET AUDIENCE:

This continuing education activity is intended for physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses with an interest in skin and wound care.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES/OUTCOMES:

After participating in this educational activity, the participant should be better able to:

Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) is an uncommon cutaneous disease, presenting with recurrent painful ulcerations most commonly on the lower extremities. The diagnosis is made according to a typical presentation, skin lesion morphology, skin biopsy, histopathology, and the exclusion of other etiologies. Classically, PG presents with painful ulcers with well-defined violaceous borders; other variants including bullous, pustular, and vegetative/granulomatous can also occur. Treatment of PG involves a combination of topical and systemic anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive medications, wound care, antimicrobial agents for secondary infections, and treatment of the underlying etiology. This article is a continuing education review of the literature with a focus on the clinical application of the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of this challenging disease.

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