Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation following torture

  • Peel M
  • Hughes J
  • Payne-James J
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Hyperpigmentation after torture in darker skinned patients has regularly been noted, although its pathophysiology, and thus its forensic importance, has not previously been documented. Hyperpigmentation is not well described in the dermatological literature. It is the result of inflammation. Any inflammation can cause hyperpigmentation, and the shape of the resulting lesion can closely follow the contours of the site of original inflammatory response. This can be important in correlating the lesion with the alleged cause. It also helps to establish the differential diagnosis of the lesion, which also assists in assessing the degree of consistency between the lesion and the alleged cause. Patterns of hyperpigmentation can therefore, be helpful in assessing allegations of torture months or years after the event. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd and AFP. All rights reserved.

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