What is the Diagnosis of Cheilosis

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 18, 2013

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Quick Bites

  • Cheilosis is normally a diagnosis made clinically.
  • Lesions are swabbed to detect if bacterial species may be present.
  • People with dentures also will have their denture swabbed.
  • A complete blood count may be indicated.

When cold winter weather sets in, the dry air can have a negative affect on our skin, particularly our lips. Winter and chapped lips are practically synonymous, but a severely cracked mouth doesn’t just occur during the colder months of the year.

Cheilosis—also known as Angular Cheilitis, Perleche or Angular Stomatitis—can strike year-round, and, if it goes untreated, can become extremely painful. It is important to know how to care for this condition and prevent it from happening. Read on to learn about some effective treatments for Cheilosis.

Your dentist or physician first will look to see if your dentures are fitting properly. He or she also will ask about your oral habits, such as licking the corners of your mouth. Blood tests may be done to test for anemias or immune deficiencies, and a smear or culture from the area may be tested to detect bacterial or yeast infections.

Diagnosis of Cheilosis

Diagnosis of Cheilosis

The working diagnosis of actinic cheilosis is usually straightforward and derived by correlating a thoroughly discerned history with clinical findings in an at-risk patient. The presence of concurrent actinic keratoses on sun-exposed areas (face, neck, bald scalp, ears) reinforces the diagnosis. Several other conditions affecting the lip may mimic actinic cheilosis and should be considered in the differential diagnosis.

Because of its progressive nature, persistent actinic changes to the lips mandate a biopsy. The histological findings associated with clinical actinic cheilosis vary significantly from simple hyperkeratosis, parakeratosis/orthokeratosis, spinous cell layer thickening, atrophy of the spinous cell layer, atypia, dysplasia, carcinomain-situ, to invasive SCC.

Normal appearing sites adjacent to the clinical lesion may manifest dysplastic changes. Basophilic infiltrates and inflammation of the underlying connective tissues are consistently observed. The progressive relationship noted between actinic keratoses and SCC have led some to propose the term “keratinocytic intraepidermal neoplasia” in lieu of “actinic keratosis” to emphasize the neoplastic propensity of these lesions.

Image: Getty

Read more articles on Understand Cheilosis.


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