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Therapeutics in Dermatology
A reference textbook in dermatology
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White lesions of the mouth


White lesions of the oral mucosa (the term keratosis has been abandoned as this is a histologic term rather than a clinical description of a lesion) are made up of primary lesions that are often linked to a keratinisation abnormality for which a number of different aetiologies are possible. It is important that a diagnosis is made due to the possibility that the lesions may be premalignant in some cases, and this must always be supported by histopathology investigations. The clinical examination will always look for associated cutaneous lesions and lesions of any other mucosa (genital or anal). Clinically they may present as either:

– white papules smaller than 5 mm, slightly raised;

– lace-like with a reticular pattern;

– plaques formed of confluent papules that are slightly elevated;

– frank papillomatous lesions with a verrucous appearance.

These lesions may be solitary or multiple and they can be associated with erosive, atrophic, hypertrophic or nodular areas.

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