Hidradenitis Suppurativa in Atlanta, GA
Painful conditions, such as hidradenitis suppurativa, can affect your quality of life, altering your lifestyle and limiting your social options. The Atlanta Center for Breast and Aesthetic Surgery, led by Dr. Frederick T. Work, Jr., is a full-service plastic surgery facility offering comprehensive, compassionate reconstructive surgery for patients suffering from conditions, such as hidradenitis suppurativa in and around Atlanta, Buckhead, Vinings and Sandy Springs.
What Is Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a dermatological condition that causes outbreaks of painful bumps beneath the skin in areas near sweat glands. There’s no known cure for this condition. However, many patients find relief by undergoing treatments and lifestyle changes to reduce flare-ups. The sweat glands affected by this condition are called apocrine glands and are located in areas of bodily hair growth, such as the armpits, groin and between the buttocks. Outbreaks may also occur, however, in areas where the skin rubs together, such as between the thighs or underneath the breasts. The bumps may become infected, forming pockets that fill with pus and emit a foul odor when they break open. The condition can also cause scarring. Early detection and treatment may prevent or reduce future outbreaks.
Causes of Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Exact causes of hidradenitis suppurativa have not been established. However, the outbreaks begin when sweat glands become obstructed. Most patients experience the first outbreak in their teens or 20s.
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) occurs more commonly in women than in men and is also more common among those who are overweight and smokers. About a third of people who contract HS have at least one family member who also has the condition and it seems to be more prevalent in those who have had acne.
Although doctors have not established direct causes, they have determined that such things as not washing frequently enough, use of deodorants or powders, shaving or waxing certain body parts, are not direct causes of the condition. The condition is also not contagious or transmittable from one person to another.
Symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa
A typical case of hidradenitis suppurativa may present as just a single, painful bump that becomes inflamed or it may present as a series of bumps. The typical outbreak may last for several days or as long as months. Patients may see repeated outbreaks of a single bump or group of bumps in the same area. The bumps are painful to touch and cause soreness in the general area. As the condition matures, the bumps develop pockets of pus that leak and smell bad. The bumps may also cause itching and patients may experience outbreaks in one location or in several areas at once. In some cases, the bumps cause scarring when they heal. Some people develop tunnels beneath the surface of the skin, called sinus tracts that connect different areas of HS outbreaks. The bumps and leaky pockets may disappear and return. In severe cases, they never fully heal.
Treatment of Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Treatment for hidradenitis suppurativa is highly personalized and based on the severity of each case. Dr. Work may need to observe your case and try more than one option to find the optimal treatment for you. Treatment methods may include oral medications, such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines, but severe cases may require definitive treatment involving surgical removal of the affected skin and possible skin grafting.
Is Hidradenitis Suppurativa Hereditary?
There is some evidence that hidradenitis suppurativa may indeed be hereditary, though it has not been formally established. A family history of boils or hidradenitis is reported in approximately 30 percent of individuals who suffer from this condition.
Is Hidradenitis Suppurativa Caused By Poor Hygiene?
No, and this is one of the stigmas that often accompany hidradenitis suppurativa. Although the condition typically presents in warm, moist areas of the body, use of soap and water does not seem to affect the process. While hidradenitis suppurativa is more frequently seen in individuals who are overweight or obese, scientists believe that other factors beyond hygiene contribute to this.
Is Hidradenitis Suppurativa Caused By Anything I Do?
Generally, hidradenitis suppurativa is not directly caused by behavioral factors, although it may be exacerbated by such behaviors as smoking, excessive consumption of dairy products and obesity. Nonetheless, avoiding these factors has not proven consistent in controlling or reversing the condition and in most cases the condition persists in spite of behavior modification.
Can Hidradenitis Suppurativa Be Prevented?
Will Insurance Cover My Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment in Atlanta?
Fortunately, most health insurance policies do cover the surgery required to treat hidradenitis suppurativa, though some carriers may cover only a portion of a patient’s treatment. To mitigate costs not covered by health insurance coverage, the Atlanta Center for Breast and Aesthetic Surgery provides financing through CareCredit® and Prosper® Healthcare Lending for all of our patients. Our office also accepts cash, personal checks, and credit cards.
If you live in and around the Atlanta, Buckhead, Vinings or Sandy Springs area in Georgia, and suffer from painful symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa, hope is just around the corner. Call today for a consultation with the Atlanta Center for Breast and Aesthetic Surgery, under the direction of Frederick T. Work, Jr. He and his team of experts provide permanent solutions for patients suffering from such conditions as hidradenitis suppurativa that require reconstructive surgery.