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Submucosal Fibrotic Bands in Oral Lichen Planus: A Clinico-Pathological Investigation of a Newly Described Phenomenon

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Fibrosis is a recognized complication of chronic inflammatory conditions, which has not yet been described in oral lichen planus. To describe characteristics of submucosal fibrotic bands in oral lichen planus. Prospective study. Patients with biopsy confirmed lichen planus were included. Clinical examination recorded fibrotic bands, mouth opening, vestibular depth loss, gingival recessions adjacent to band, lichen subtypes, areas of affected mucosa, extra-oral manifestations. Patients completed the Chronic Oral Mucosal Disease Questionnaire, with additional questions regarding stiffness, restricted opening, symptom frequency, time from diagnosis of lichen, co-existing medical conditions. 73 patients were included, 14 M, 59 F, age 28–84 (mean 61) years. Buccal fibrous bands were palpated in 22 (30.1%), 13 (59%) were bilateral. Self-reported restricted opening/stiffness were significantly associated with fibrous bands (36% Vs. 11% in controls, p = 0.02). Mouth opening less than 40 mm was recorded in only 2 (9%) with bands, none in controls. Reduced vestibular depth was significantly associated with bands (11 (50%) Vs 3 (6%) in controls, p = 0.0001).Gingival recessions adjacent to bands were recorded in 3 (13.6%). No association was demonstrated between fibrous bands and erosive lesions, extra oral involvement, smoking, age, visual analogue scale, quality of life questionaire and disease duration. Histological evaluation of one case each with and without band and control showed increased mean width of connective tissue. Submucous fibrous band is first described in the present study. It is common in oral lichen planus, may lead to feeling restricted mouth opening, stiffness, loss of vestibular depth and adjacent gingival recession.

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Shteiner, M., Kleinman, S., Shuster, A. et al. Submucosal Fibrotic Bands in Oral Lichen Planus: A Clinico-Pathological Investigation of a Newly Described Phenomenon. Head and Neck Pathol 15, 395–401 (2021).

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