Psoriasis: to cut or not to cut, what say you?

Dermatol Surg. 2003 Jul;29(7):735-40. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2003.29188.x.


Background: A common problem facing patients suffering from psoriasis is the need for surgery that requires incision through active psoriatic skin. Many patients have been denied surgery because of the fear of an increased risk of infection, decreased wound healing ability, and worsening of the psoriatic lesions.

Objective: To assess the practices and beliefs of dermatologists and surgeons (orthopedic and plastic surgeons) faced with the decision of whether to operate through active psoriatic skin.

Methods: Dermatologists, orthopedic surgeons, and plastic surgeons selected from various professional membership lists from five representative cities were sent a survey to ascertain their opinions on operating on active psoriatic skin. Psoriatic patients were also given forms asking about the severity of their psoriasis and whether they had ever been denied surgery.

Results: Dermatologists are more likely to condone surgery in active psoriatic skin and to believe that there is not a risk of increased infection or decreased wound healing than are orthopedic surgeons and plastic surgeons. These findings are statistically significant (P<0.05).

Conclusion: With proper preoperative measures and dermatologic treatment, surgery can be performed on active psoriatic skin in most cases with minimal reservations, although a controlled, prospective study is necessary to arrive at a definitive conclusion.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Medicine / statistics & numerical data
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psoriasis / complications*
  • Risk
  • Specialization
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires