Pyoderma Gangrenosum

A skin ulcer is an open sore in the skin. Pyoderma gangrenosum is an uncommon form of skin ulcers. It usually occurs on the lower legs, but can occur anywhere on the skin.

  • Causes


    Pyoderma gangrenosum
    is thought to be caused by a problem with the immune system. The immune system finds and attacks foreign lis in the body like viruses. Sometimes the immune system attacks the body's own tissue. In this case, the immune system attacks an area of the skin.

  • Definition

    A skin ulcer is an open sore in the skin.
    Pyoderma gangrenosum
    is an uncommon form of skin ulcers. It usually occurs on the lower legs, but can occur anywhere on the skin.

    Side View of Skin Ulcer
    Skin Ulcer small
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • Diagnosis


    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a skin specialist.
    Pyoderma gangrenosum
    is diagnosed by its appearance. Your doctor will also want to rule out other conditions that can cause skin ulcers.

    To look for other factors that could cause ulcers, your doctor may order:

    • Sample of ulcer fluids—to look for infection or lis that can cause infection
    • Biopsy—a sample of tissue
    • Blood tests

  • Prevention


    There is no known way to prevent
    pyoderma gangrenosum.

  • Risk Factors


    Pyoderma gangrenosum
    is more likely to occur in people who have other underlying medical conditions, such as:

    • Ulcerative colitis
    • Crohns disease

    • Chronic active
      hepatitis
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Polycythemia vera
    • Myeloma
    • Behcets syndrome
    • Acute myelogenous leukemia
    • Chronic myelogenous leukemia

  • Symptoms


    The main symptom of
    pyoderma gangrenosum
    is a painful skin ulcer. These ulcers may begin as small-irritated bumps from an injury. However, the ulcer can grow up to 7.9 in (inches) (20 cm [centimeters]). The ulcers often have purple edges that appear worn away.

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include: