Epidermolysis bullosa

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Epidermolysis bullosa

Question

What can you tell me about the skin disorder called epidermolysis bullosa simplex? My young niece has it. When anything rubs her skin, she gets blisters that turn into large open wounds requiring skin grafts.

Fran
Nevada

Answer

Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) refers to a group of genetic skin disorders that cause blistering due to friction. In some cases, it's inherited. There are many types of EB, which can affect the skin and mucous membranes. EB simplex is limited to the upper layer (epidermis) of the skin.

The skin of people with EB simplex is so fragile that even minor rubbing may cause blistering. Typically, the blistered skin heals without scarring. A doctor can make a diagnosis of EB simplex by:

  • Removal of a small amount of affected skin (biopsy) for examination under a microscope
  • Genetic testing, in some cases

There's no cure for EB. Treatment is directed at preventing or minimizing friction on the skin and wound care. Skin grafting is not a standard treatment for EB simplex. People with this disorder may benefit from genetic counseling.

Last Updated: 02/18/2005
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