Background: Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic debilitating folliculopilosebaceous disease that affects the skin most commonly in the axilla, groin, inframammary, genital and buttock areas. Surgical intervention may be an appropriate option in selected cases, but there is a risk of recurrence. The purpose of this study was to assess the results of wide local excision (WLE) to healthy subcutaneous fat with secondary intention healing in patients with HS who were under concurrent surgical and dermatologic care. Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of 192 consecutive HS consultations to a general surgical service, identifying patients treated with WLE. Cases involving minor procedures (deroofing, incision and drainage) were excluded. Data on patient demographics, surgical site, method of closure, complications and recurrence were extracted from patient charts. We also conducted a literature review of surgical procedures in the management of HS. Results: A total of 66 patients underwent 133 WLE to healthy subcutaneous fat. All patients were under concurrent medical care directed by a dermatologist. No medical therapies, including biological treatments, were interrupted or withheld for surgery. One hundred procedures were closed primarily with rotation or advancement flaps and 33 by secondary intention healing. Local recurrence occurred in 18% of primary closures and 18% of secondary intention closures (p = 0.98, χ2 test, no difference between groups). One patient with secondary intention healing returned to the emergency department for bleeding; 34% of patients with primary closure experienced some dehiscence (23% major, 11% minor separation). Two patients with axillary disease had restrictions in their ability to raise their arm that required physiotherapy. Median followup was 14.5 (range 1-55) months. Conclusion: Resection to healthy subcutaneous fat during WLE provides disease control comparable to that with deeper resections, simplifying care.
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