A clinicopathological study on cutaneous tuberculosis in a tertiary care teaching institution


  • Ramesh A. Department of Dermatology, Madras Medical College, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Sampath V. Department of Dermatology, Madras Medical College, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Deepika S. Department of Dermatology, Madras Medical College, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India




Cutaneous tuberculosis, Clinical variants, Acid fast bacilli, Histopathology


Background: Today tuberculosis is known to affect every organ, not forgetting the single largest organ of the body- the skin. The study on cutaneous tuberculosis is conducted with the modest aim of studying its epidemiology, clinical features, immunology, histology and treatment.

Methods: Patients with clinical diagnosis of cutaneous tuberculosis were included in study after thorough history, clinical examination, routine and special investigation like AFB staining, Mantoux test and histopathologic studies.

Results: Cutaneous tuberculosis constituted 0.11% of total cases. Lupus vulgaris (LV) topped the list followed by tuberculosis verrucosa cutis (TVC) and scrofuloderma (SFD). Commonest age group was in second to third decades. Males outnumbered females. Most of the LV and TVC lesions were confined to the extremities. SFD was confined to head and neck region. BCG vaccination did not confer immunity against cutaneous tuberculosis as observed in this study. HIV positivity was observed in only one patient in this series although this has been described to be associated commonly with cutaneous infections. Histopathological features were consistent with cutaneous TB in all the patients. All these cases responded well to ATT and those cases which could be followed did not show any recurrence.

Conclusions: This study highlights the incidence of cutaneous tuberculosis with male predilection. Early detection and treatment of lesions are crucial to decrease functional and cosmetic disfigurement, importance of assessing HIV status in patients with multicentric cutaneous tuberculosis and also this study highlights the importance of improving awareness among general practitioners, public health workers and general population.


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Original Research Articles