Journal of Clinical Trials: Acquired Labial Synechiae Secondary to Stevens-Johnson Syndrome


Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) is caused by abnormal immunologic reactions, normally after exposure to drugs or infections. It is a severe and rare disease, belonging to the group of toxic epidermic necroses (NET).  All mucous membranes can be reached: ocular, genital, esophageal, nasal or oral. These complications can lead to aesthetic and functional damage such as blindness or dyspareunia. Of these mucosal complications, labial synechiae are the rarest.  Authors report labial synechia complicating SJS to lamotrigine. This observation encourages authors to propose systematic prevention of potential oral sequelae.

Mucosal damage and its sequelae have been widely described in NET. As in burns, a few days are enough for the formation of synechiae if two mucosal lesions are in contact. Ophthalmic sequelae are more frequent. Lip adhesions are an unusual complication of healing in the lesions of SJS. In severe cases the labial epithelium may be broadly eroded. Crusting occurs within 2 to 3 days. As a result of the crusting, the lips are oіen sealed, especially at the angles. In this case it is likely that as a result of the pain and bleeding, the ulcerated lips were not separated, resulting in healing occurring between the eroded epithelium of the upper and lower lips. Lip adhesions such as these are an uncommon occurrence. Нere cases of labial synechiae secondary to NET have been reported. Another case has been reported secondary to a herpetic infection. Mucosal sequelae are much rarer in EP than in NET. 3 cases of labial synechia secondary to EP have been reported previously in the literature [6-8]. As in this case, the adhesions all occurred at the angles, hence the use of the term angular webbing to refer to the strand of tissue interconnecting the upper and lower lips.

Oral mucosal adhesions can cause cosmetic sequelae, but above all they hinder functional prognosis which significantl\ impact quality of life. Нough not a serious complication and easily dealt with by bilateral chalinoplasty, lip adhesions can be prevented. A 45 year old woman who developed labial synechiae aіer a medicated SSJ was successfully treated with a CO2 laser. Нese complications should be prevented by lip movements with maximum mouth opening several times a day starting as soon as possible, the application of a lubricant and using hydrocortisone ointment may also encourage rapid healing. If the instructions for lip mobilization seem difficult to apply, or if the clinician has a doubt about the observance of instructions, making silicone gutters of vestibular deepening can be discussed, performed by dentists or maxillofacial surgeons. However, wearing these gutters can be extremely painful. Нe movements of the lips and the possible port of the gutters must be prolonged until complete healing. Mucosal lesions are oіen hyperalgic and pain management should be associated. Нe treatment of pain improves the comfort of the patient and prevents complications, because the patient no longer needs to adopt an analgesic position. Ocular and genital complications must also be prevented and the section of the synechiae is performed under anaesthesia as soon as they appear.

Complications of mucosal involvement must be prevented by early, adapted and multidisciplinary management. We suggest that minor attention to the oral cavity by occasionally moving the lips during the healing phase could have prevented such adhesions and could have circumvented the need for corrective therapy.


Managing Editor
Journal of Clinical Trials