What is the role of x-ray irradiation in the treatment of vesicular palmoplantar eczema?

Updated: Aug 23, 2019
  • Author: Jessica Dunkley, MD, MHSc, CCFP; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

The inflammatory cells functioning in eczema are highly radiosensitive, and, therefore, x-ray irradiation has been used in some patients with resistant chronic eczema of the hand when other treatments have not been successful. Grenz rays and superficial radiotherapy were popular treatments for chronic severe hand eczema in the 1980s; however, they have currently decreased in popularity, mostly because of a lack of availability than because of the risk for potential carcinogenesis. Superficial radiation therapy appears to have a higher success rate than grenz ray therapy because of its deeper penetration into the skin. [58] One study revealed excellent results with the use of superficial radiation for palmoplantar eczema, while others have not. [59, 60] However, the potential risk of irradiation for a benign non–life-threatening disease must be recognized, and care must be taken not to exceed the maximum safe cumulative lifetime dose by using dosimetry. External-beam megavoltage radiation therapy was reportedly successful in treatment of this condition in one patient.


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