How is lichen planus differentiated from hairy leukoplakia?

Updated: Aug 05, 2019
  • Author: James E Cade, DDS; Chief Editor: Jeff Burgess, DDS, MSD  more...
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Lichen planus or lichenoid eruptions occur as autoimmune or allergic reactions to an unknown stimulus. In HIV-infected patients, lichen planus often occurs on the buccal mucosa, typically with a reticulated pattern. Oral lichen planus may also be associated with cutaneous lesions. See the image below.

Lateral tongue in lichen planus. Lateral tongue in lichen planus.

Lesions that clinically and histologically mimicked oral hairy leukoplakia but were not associated with EBV infection have been characterized as pseudo–hairy leukoplakia.

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