Lichen Simplex Chronicus Workup

Updated: Feb 15, 2019
  • Author: Jason Schoenfeld, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Workup

Laboratory Studies

An elevated serum immunoglobulin E level occasionally supports the diagnosis of an underlying atopic diathesis. Perform potassium hydroxide examination and fungal cultures to exclude tinea cruris or candidiasis in patients with genital lichen simplex chronicus.

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Other Tests

Patch testing helps exclude allergic contact dermatitis as an underlying primary dermatosis (eg, allergic contact dermatitis to nickel with secondary lichen simplex chronicus) or as a factor in chronicity (eg, allergic contact dermatitis to topical corticosteroids used to treat lichen simplex chronicus).

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Procedures

Frequently, skin biopsy is performed to exclude other disorders, particularly psoriasis or mycosis fungoides (cutaneous T-cell lymphoma) in elderly patients. [22]

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Histologic Findings

Histologic examination demonstrates hyperkeratosis, acanthosis, spongiosis, and patches of parakeratosis in the epidermis. Epidermal thickening of all layers is noted, with elongation of rete ridges and with pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia. Papillary dermal fibrosis with vertical streaking of collagen bundles is characteristic.

A characteristic finding of lichen simplex chronicus that is noted on electron microscopy is frequent collagen fibers attached to and just above the lamina basalis.

H and E biopsy of lichen simplex chronicus from fo H and E biopsy of lichen simplex chronicus from forearm skin viewed at 40x magnification. Note the characteristic hyperkeratosis, hypergranulosis, pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia, and papillary dermal fibrosis.
H and E biopsy of lichen simplex chronicus from fo H and E biopsy of lichen simplex chronicus from forearm skin viewed at 100x magnification. Note the characteristic hyperkeratosis, hypergranulosis, pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia, and papillary dermal fibrosis.
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