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Acne conglobata

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Title: Acne conglobata  
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Subject: Hidradenitis suppurativa, ICD-10 Chapter XII: Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, Acne (disambiguation)
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Acne conglobata

Acne conglobata
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 L70.1 (ILDS L70.100)
ICD-9 DiseasesDB 29800

Acne conglobata is a highly inflammatory disease presenting with comedones, nodules, abscesses, and draining sinus tracts.[1][2]:449

This condition generally begins between the ages of 18 and 30. It usually persists for a very long time, and often until the patient is around 40 years old. Although it often occurs where there is already an active acne problem, it can also happen to people whose acne has subsided. Although the cause of this type of acne is unknown, it is associated with testosterone and thus appears mainly in men. It can be caused by anabolic steroid abuse and sometimes appears in men after stopping testosterone therapy. It can also happen to someone who has a tumour that is releasing large amounts of androgens, or to people in remission from autoimmune diseases, such as leukemia. In certain persons, the condition may be triggered by exposure to aromatic hydrocarbons or ingestion of halogens.[3]


This condition presents with blackheads appearing around the face, neck, chest, upper arms and buttocks in groups of two or three. The pimples form around the blackheads. They are large and engorged with fluid, and may be sensitive to touch. They remain for a while and continue to grow and fill with pus until they finally rupture. After the lesion has drained, it fills up again. After they rupture, several nodules can fuse together to form larger shapes. The lesions remain for a long time. They form a scab in the centre but they continue to spread outwards. When the lesions do eventually heal, they leave scars that can be the usual type of acne scar (atrophic) or can be the raised bump normally left behind by a burn or a cut (keloidal).


The most common treatment is the acne medication isotretinoin. It may be combined with prednisone. Dapsone, which is normally used to treat leprosy, is a riskier medication but is sometimes prescribed in cases where the normal therapy is ineffectual. Antibiotics such as tetracycline or erythromycin may also be prescribed. An alternative option is to treat with carbon dioxide laser therapy, followed by topical tretinoin therapy. Surgery may be necessary to remove large nodules. Alternatively, nodules can be injected with triamcinolone.[4]

See also


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