Skin nontumor

Infectious disorders


Last author update: 1 July 2011
Last staff update: 16 April 2021

Copyright: 2002-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Tuberculosis [title] skin

Mowafak Hamodat, M.B.Ch.B., M.Sc.
Page views in 2022: 10,030
Page views in 2023 to date: 10,518
Cite this page: Hamodat M. Tuberculosis. website. Accessed November 29th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Cutaneous disease is uncommon in U.S
  • Primary (inoculation) tuberculosis of the skin is the cutaneous analogue of the pulmonary ghon focus
  • Primary cutaneous tuberculosis may be associated with tattooing, ritual circumcision, nose piercing, inoculation of homeopathic solutions or injury by contaminated objects to laboratory workers, surgeons or prosectors; there may be no obvious source of infection

  • Erythema induratum of Bazin: also called nodular vasculitis if no coexisting tuberculosis; rare, more common in past; presents as recurrent tender subcutaneous nodules on calves of women with tuberculin hypersensitivity
  • Lichen scrofulosorum: lichenoid eruption of minute papules in children and adolescents with tuberculosis (Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2010;76:494)
  • Lupus vulgaris: most common form of re-infection tuberculosis, occurring predominantly in young adults; refers to painful cutaneous TB skin lesions with a nodular appearance, usually near the nose, eyelids, lips, cheeks and ears; untreated lesions may develop into disfiguring skin ulcers ("lupus" historically meant an ulcerative skin disorder), and are associated with squamous cell carcinoma
  • Tuberculids: heterogeneous group of cutaneous lesions due to TB infection elsewhere in the body
Clinical features
  • Red indurated papule appears 1 - 3 weeks after penetrating injury; papule ulcerates and forms a so-called "tuberculoid chancer"
Case reports
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Adult woman with
circulation and
ulcerated lesions

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Early lesions have a mixed dermal infiltrate of neutrophils, lymphocytes and plasma cells; followed by superficial necrosis and ulceration
  • Weeks later, tuberculoid granulomas form, with variable caseation necrosis
  • Acid-fast bacilli are usually easy to find in the early lesions, but are rare once granulomas develop
  • Erythema induratum of Bazin: granulomatous vasculitis affecting subcutaneous large vessels (may need multiple serial sections to identify); also granulomatous inflammation of lobules of subcutis; lesions may contain acid-fast bacilli by PCR
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Angel Fernandez-Flores, M.D., Ph.D.

Positive stains
Back to top
Image 01 Image 02