DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Oral lichen planus. Close-up of the mouth of a male patient showing a group of snow white spots at the level of the second premolar tooth (at centre). Around these lesions a fine, white, lacy network extends into the inside lining of the cheeks. This common condition is lichen planus, usually affecting middle aged people. The cause is unknown. There is an associated rash which appears on the wrists, forearms and lower legs as small, shiny, purple spots which are extremely itchy. The disease is treated with corticosteroid drugs. Creams, sometimes supplemented by injections in severe cases are used to treat the skin rash. Most cases clear up in eighteen months.
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