Pyoderma Gangrenosum - Health Center

Pyoderma Gangrenosum

By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

Pyoderma Gangrenosum – Basic Overview

Pyoderma Gangrenosum is a rare condition which results in large and painful sores all over the skin, mostly over the legs. It is not certain as to what causes the condition, but it has been noted that this condition is related to an immune system disorder. People suffering from certain underlying conditions such as inflammatory bowel disorder or Rheumatoid Arthritis suffer from a higher risk of contracting this condition.

The treatment for Pyoderma Gangrenosum includes high doses of corticosteroids such as prednisone along with other drugs in order to suppress the immune system. The entire course of treatment can take weeks or even months in order to heal the ulcers associated with the condition. 

Causes of Pyoderma Gangrenosum:

The real cause behind the occurrence of Pyoderma Gangrenosum isn’t well known. However, the condition has often been associated with inflammatory conditions such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease. In case a patient is suffering from Pyoderma Gangrenosum, any new skin condition, such as a small cut or a puncture wound can result in the formation of the new ulcers. This tendency of the new ulcers to form from other skin injuries is known as pathergy. 

Signs and Symptoms of Pyoderma Gangrenosum:

Pyoderma Gangrenosum usually tends to start with the creation of a small, tiny red bump on the skin which is identical to a mosquito bite. Later on, this bump can develop into a large, painful and an open sore. Such kinds of ulcers can appear all over the legs and other parts of the body. In case a patient suffers from several ulcers, these ulcers may grow and clump together to a large ulcer.

It is recommended to seek immediate medical help in case you are developing multiple blisters all over your skin or sores which take a lot of time to heal. 

Tests and Diagnosis of Pyoderma Gangrenosum:

There is no specific test which can confirm the diagnosis of Pyoderma Gangrenosum. However, doctors tend to conduct a large number of tests in order to rule out the possibility of other conditions. The following tests are done in order to diagnose the condition:

  1. Blood Tests: In this, a small sample of the blood is taken out in order to check for signs of infection and the presence of Rheumatoid Factor which has been associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  2. Swabs and Biopsies: A small cotton swab is used in order to remove a small sample of the liquid from the centre of the ulcer in order to check the type of infection. A skin biopsy is done by removing a small sample of the affected skin in order to check it under the microscope. 

Treatment and Drugs for Pyoderma Gangrenosum:

Depending on the type and size of the skin lesions, it can take weeks or months for the lesions to heal. The following drugs and treatment options are best prescribed for Pyoderma Gangrenosum:

  1. Medications: Medications include high doses of Corticosteroids such as Prednisone is best used for the treatment of Pyoderma Gangrenosum. The side effects of these medications include thinning of the bone, gain in the body weight and increased risk of infection. In order to reduce the amount of Prednisone needed, the doctors might recommend anti rejection drugs like Cyclosporine.
  2. Surgery: In a large number of cases, surgery is not recommended as the skin lesions can worsen with the surgical treatment. However, if the size of the ulcers is large and needs a skin graft for treatment, the doctors attach a piece of real skin to the open lesions. This treatment option is only prescribed when the inflammation has subsided and the ulcers have started healing. 


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