Hairy leukoplakia; Smoker's keratosis; Vulvar leukoplakia
Leukoplakia are patches on the tongue, in the mouth, or on the inside of the cheek that occur in response to long-term irritation. Leukoplakia patches may also develop on the outer female genitals.
Leukoplakia mainly affects the mucus membranes of the mouth. It is thought to be caused by irritation, but the causes is not always known.
Irritation in the mouth may be caused by:
The disorder is most common in elderly persons.
"Hairy" leukoplakia of the mouth is a different disorder that is seen mostly in HIV-positive people. It may be one of the first signs of HIV infection. It can also appear in other people whose immune system is not working well, such as after a bone marrow transplant. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, but is not harmful by itself. The most common symptoms of hairy leukoplakia are painless, fuzzy white patches on the side of the tongue.
Sciubba JJ. Oral mucosal lesions. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 91.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885