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Lichen sclerosus

Last updated: May 3, 2021

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Lichen sclerosus is a chronic inflammatory disease of unknown cause that is characterized by white, atrophic plaques with intense pruritus affecting the skin, nails, hair, and/or mucous membranes. It most commonly affects the anogenital area and often occurs in postmenopausal women. Although the condition is benign, it is associated with an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma. Lichen sclerosus is diagnosed clinically and should be confirmed via punch biopsy, which can concurrently screen for squamous cell carcinoma. Treatment primarily consists of high-dose topical steroids but may also include surgical excision in steroid-refractory disease.

Epidemiological data refers to the US, unless otherwise specified.

The differential diagnoses listed here are not exhaustive.

We list the most important complications. The selection is not exhaustive.

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