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Leprosy-Lucio phenomena
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Leprosy-Lucio phenomena

Contributors: Connie Zhong MSc, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Lucio phenomenon is a rare reaction seen in patients with multibacillary leprosy due to endothelial invasion of Mycobacterium leprae. It is most commonly seen in Mexico and Central America, although cases have been reported in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

The pathogenesis is thought to be mediated by complement activation of immune-complex deposition. Leprosy bacilli invade blood vessel endothelium, causing endothelial proliferation and narrowing of the vascular lumen. Reports have suggested that certain stressors, such as pregnancy, concurrent infection, and cold weather, may precipitate Lucio phenomenon.

Manifestations of Lucio phenomenon typically occur 1-3 years after onset of leprosy. Patients present with sudden onset of painful violaceous plaques that may become hemorrhagic, bullous, and then ulcerated. Subcutaneous nodules may be a feature. The lower extremities are affected most frequently, but the forearms and buttocks may also be involved. Ulcers heal with atrophic scars after 2-4 weeks. Although constitutional symptoms are rare, patients may have fever, myalgia, or arthralgia. Lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, and leukocytosis with neutrophilia may be seen.

Lucio phenomenon may be complicated by sepsis from superadded infection.


A30.8 – Other forms of leprosy

228007 – Lucio phenomenon

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  • Type 2 lepra reaction
  • Livedoid vasculopathy
  • Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome
  • Calciphylaxis
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Leukocytoclastic vasculitis

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Last Reviewed:01/14/2018
Last Updated:01/28/2018
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Leprosy-Lucio phenomena
A medical illustration showing key findings of Leprosy-Lucio phenomena : Bullae, Eschar, Lower leg, Palpable purpura, Skin ulceration
Clinical image of Leprosy-Lucio phenomena - imageId=5291837. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'An erythematous plaque with an overlying eschar and surrounding depigmented plaques with light brown haloes on the lateral thigh and buttock.'
An erythematous plaque with an overlying eschar and surrounding depigmented plaques with light brown haloes on the lateral thigh and buttock.
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.