Surgical Procedural Definitions for Hidradenitis Suppurativa Developed by Expert Delphi Consensus

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JAMA Dermatol


IMPORTANCE: Various surgical approaches for hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) have been described in the literature, but the nomenclature is inconsistent. Excisions have been described as wide, local, radical, and regional with variable descriptions of margins. Deroofing procedures have been described with various approaches though descriptions of the approach are generally more uniform. No international consensus has been formed to globally standardize terminology for HS surgical procedures. Lack of such agreement may contribute to misunderstanding or misclassification in HS procedural research studies and impair clear communication among clinicians or between clinicians and patients.

OBJECTIVE: To create a set of standard definitions for HS surgical procedures.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This consensus agreement study was conducted from January to May 2021 using the modified Delphi consensus method to reach agreement among a group of international HS experts regarding standardized definitions for an initial set of HS surgical terms, including "incision and drainage," "deroofing/unroofing," "excision," "lesional excision," and "regional excision," ultimately expanded to 10 terms. Provisional definitions were drafted based on existing literature and discussion among an expert 8-member steering committee. Online surveys were disseminated to members of the HS Foundation, direct contacts of the expert panel, and the HSPlace listserv to reach physicians with considerable experience with HS surgery. Consensus was defined as greater than 70% agreement to accept a definition.

RESULTS: In the first and second modified Delphi round, 50 and 33 experts participated, respectively. Ten surgical procedural terms and definitions reached consensus with greater than 80% agreement. Overall, the term "local" excision was abandoned and replaced with the descriptors "lesional" or "regional" excision. Of note, "regional" replaced the terms "wide" and "radical" excision. Furthermore, modifiers such as "partial" vs "complete" should also be included when describing surgical procedures. A combination of these terms helped formulate the final glossary of HS surgical procedural definitions.

CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: An international group of HS experts agreed on a set of definitions describing surgical procedures frequently used by clinicians and in the literature. The standardization and application of such definitions are vital to allow for accurate communication, reporting consistency, and uniform data collection and study design in the future.

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ePub ahead of print