Definition Hairy leukoplakia is one of the most common and characteristic lesions of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Rarely,
it can also appear in immunosuppressed patients after organ transplantation.
Etiology Epstein–Barr virus seems to play an important role in the pathogenesis.
Clinical features Hairy leukoplakia presents as a white asymptomatic, often elevated and unremovable patch. The lesion is almost always found bilaterally on the lateral margins of the tongue, and may spread to the dorsumand the ventral surface (Fig. 3). Characteristically, the surface of the lesion is corrugated with a vertical orientation. However, smooth and flat lesions may also be seen. The lesion is not precancerous.
Laboratory tests Histological examination, in situ hybridization, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and electron microscopy.
[/alert] Differential diagnosis Chronic biting, lichen planus, frictional keratosis, cinnamon contact stomatitis, uremic stomatitis, candidiasis.
Treatment Not required; however, in some cases aciclovir or valaciclovir can be used with success.