Inpatient Management of Pyoderma Gangrenosum Treatments, Outcomes, and Clinical Implications Academic Article uri icon


  • Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) is a rare, ulcerative neutrophilic skin condition of unknown etiology. The disease continues to pose therapeutic challenges, with ongoing controversy regarding the role of surgery.A retrospective medical records review was conducted for 29 patients who were diagnosed and treated for PG at an Australian tertiary center over 10 years, from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2010.A total of 29 patients had a diagnosis of PG, with a total of 35 admissions. Nearly all patients had immunosuppressant therapy and 10 (35%) patients underwent surgery. Eight (28%) received hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Complications secondary to medical therapy occurred in 23 (66%) of admissions, with the commonest being poor blood sugar control in patients with diabetes (n = 6, 17%) and steroid-induced diabetes (n = 5, 14%). At discharge, 21 (72%) patients' ulcers had improved and there were 4 (14%) inpatient deaths. At 6 months, 3 of 10 cases with available follow-up showed complete ulcer healing. Most of the patients (n = 8, 80%) who underwent combined medical and surgical therapy had ulcers that had either completely healed or improved at 6 months after discharge. All 3 patients who underwent split skin grafting under immunosuppressive cover (with 2 having hyperbaric oxygen therapy) had no postoperative graft failure or pathergy.Pyoderma gangrenosum remains a therapeutic challenge, with significant complications and morbidity from long-term medical treatment. Surgery should be considered in conjunction with combined hyperbaric and immunosuppressive therapy once the disease is quiescent, to reduce disease-related comorbidity as well as the consequent adverse effects of long-term immunosuppressant therapy.

publication date

  • 2015