Background Papulopustular lesions (PPL), the commonest presentation of skin lesions in Behçet’s disease (BD) are cutaneous, sterile folliculitis or acne-like lesions on erythematous base. Our purpose was to determine the true frequency and anatomic location of the PPL and compare this with controls. We also sought to determine whether or not there was any relationship between PPL and either disease activity or other manifestations of BD.
Methods Fifty patients with BD, diagnosed according to the criteria of the International Study Group for Behçet’s Disease, were enrolled in the study. The control group consisted of 100 patients with other dermatologic diseases (21 acne and 79 non-acne patients), selected randomly. A dermatologist counted the lesions, in a blind protocol, on seven anatomic locations: scalp, face, neck, trunk, upper and lower extremities and genitalia.
Results The frequency of PPL in patients with BD was 96% and the most common location was the trunk, whereas in the control group the frequency was 89% and the most common location was the face. In acne and non-acne patients, the frequency was 100% and 86.1% respectively. The total mean number, and mean numbers of PPL on the location of trunk, upper and lower extremities, and genitalia were higher in patients with BD than in controls. When the PPL in BD patients with a positive pathergy test was compared with that in patients with a negative pathergy test, the difference was significantly higher.
Conclusions Our results indicate that PPL appear to be non-specific. In the diagnosis of BD the mean number and anatomic location of the lesions are of more importance than the frequency.