The varying sites involved and the non-specific nature of early lesions mean that patients with HS are referred to many different specialists, including general surgeons, gynaecologists, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, infectious medicine specialists, immunologists, gastroen-terologists, proctologists and urologists. This occurs mainly because lesions are most often considered to be common "abscesses" requiring treatment with short courses of antibiotics and lancing, which is an ineffectual form of therapy that must be strongly discouraged.
Unfortunately, the disease is not well known to many general practitioners and other non-dermatology specialists. This may cause delay in the diagnosis and treatment, and consequently in passing information to the patients. In our personal series of 164 patients the mean delay in diagnosis was 7 years with an extreme of 42 years . Failure to recognize HS, failure to give a correct diagnosis and advice on how to manage this chronic disease are therefore common and add to patients' severe distress and impairment of quality of life.
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