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October 1969

Evaluation of the Earlobe in Leprosy: A Clinical and Histopathological Study

Author Affiliations

Carville, La; San Pedro, Calif

From the Laboratory Branch and Pathology Department, US Public Health Service Hospital, Carville, La (Dr. Mansfield), and the US Public Health Service, San Pedro, Calif (Drs. Storkan and Cliff). Dr. Mansfield is currently at the Clinical Laboratories, St. Louis.

Arch Dermatol. 1969;100(4):407-412. doi:10.1001/archderm.1969.01610280025003

Biopsy of the earlobe in leprosy patients has revealed that histopathological findings and acidfast bacilli of a diagnostic nature may be found in the earlobe. These findings substantiate on a histological basis the use of the earlobe as a site where useful clinical information may be obtained.

The best correlation of over-all clinical appearance and histopathological findings in the earlobes is found in patients with lepromatous leprosy. In most instances, skin smears and biopsies of earlobes of leprosy patients appear to provide similar information. The systemic form of leprosy reaction was reflected in the earlobe histopathological findings. Positive histopathological findings in dimorphous leprosy patients could not be predicted. The limitations of earlobe biopsy in leprosy are discussed.

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