Hidradenitis suppurativa / acne inversa (HS) is is a chronic, inflammatory, recurrent, painful, debilitating skin disease affecting terminal hair follicles that usually presents after puberty. This disease is characterized by painful, deep-seated, inflamed lesions in the apocrine gland-bearing areas of the body, most commonly in the axillary, infra-mammary, and perineal regions and can recur periodically in almost any body area (Dessauer definition, 2006). Its etiology remains unknown.
Although a wide scientific interest only started after the 1st International Conference in 2006 in Dessau. Germany, the disease is common; it is estimated that 1% of the general population is affected and this percentage varies by geographic region. HS has a considerable impact of the quality of life; the mean Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) of sufferers is higher than of sufferers from any other skin disorder.
Up to shortly HS was an "orphan" disease with a large variant of diagnostic terms, unsystematic treatment and an uncontrolled course that frustrated the patients. In the meantime, pathogenetic concepts, definition, diagnostic criteria, patients' registry, dynamic severity score and treatment guidelines have been established. Due to its occurrence exclusively in the skin, HS is a dermatological disorder and other specialties recognize in the meantime, that this common disease has to be treated by dermatologists. Therefore, education of european dermatologists on the rapidly emerging developments and the conservative and surgical options of treatment is urgently required.