What is Cutaneous Sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis causes inflammation in the form of granulomas, which can affect multiple organs. The immune system typically forms granulomas as a way to separate or contain foreign material that it cannot otherwise deal with, such as certain infections or environmental substances. In sarcoidosis that process goes wrong, and granulomas form where they may not be necessary leading to disease in those organs.
Sarcoidosis primarily affects the lungs, with more than 90 percent of patients having lung disease. As a multisystem disease, the skin is one of the most frequent secondary systems involved, with about 25 to 30 percent of patients experiencing cutaneous sarcoidosis. The skin involvement may be incidental, or may be the most severe manifestation of the disease. It is particularly common in African American patients.
Cutaneous sarcoidosis can cause mild to moderate skin problems that require topical therapies. In other instances, cutaneous sarcoidosis impacts patients’ lives significantly and can cause large, disfiguring facial lesions leading to distress and impairment of daily living activities.
Treatment for Cutaneous Sarcoidosis Clinic
Penn dermatologists work closely with pulmonologists, rheumatologists and other specialists from various departments within Penn Medicine to carefully coordinate and customize the care of patients with this complex multisystem disease. Successful management of sarcoidosis requires thorough communication among all physicians and clinical specialists involved in every patient’s care.
Penn Dermatology’s Cutaneous Sarcoidosis Clinic established in 2008, provides care for a wide range of patients within the entire spectrum of the disease’s activity. Penn Medicine is one the only medical centers in the country that offers patients the opportunity to receive care at a dedicated cutaneous sarcoidosis clinic. The dermatologists providing care have substantial expertise in treating cutaneous sarcoidosis with traditional methods as well as state-of-the-art therapies, and treat patients with the entire spectrum of disease, from minimal skin involvement to extensive full-body disease.
In addition, Penn dermatologists actively participate in sarcoidosis research and clinical trials.