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Köbner's phenomenon

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The development of isomorphic pathologic lesions in response to trauma in previously uninvolved sites of patients with skin diseases. Most often seen in patients with psoriasis, but also in eczema and lichen planus. The new lesions are clinically and histopathologically identical to those in the diseased skin. The lesion must be sufficient to act on the papillary and epidermal layers of the skin and will appear in 3 to 18 days following the trauma.

Heinrich Köbner presented the phenomenon that bears his name in 1872 at a meeting of the Silesian Society for National Culture. Four years later he published a paper describing his original patient. The mechanism of experimentally producing such a reaction was known as the Köbner experiment. Since the time of Köbner, this phenomenon has been the subject of research by several authors.

We thank Karsten Lund-Pedersen, Denmark; and professor Dr. Christoph Hoeller, Vienna, for information submitted.


  • H. Köbner:
    Zur Aetiologie der Psoriasis.
    Vierteljahresschrift für Dermatologie und Syphilis, Vienna, 1876, 8: 559-561.
  • N. Kuner, W. Hartschuh, B. Khan-Durani:
    Heinrich Kobner and the "isomorphic phenomenon". History and review of the literature. Der Hautarzt, 2003, 54: 274-278.
  • D. M. Thappa:
    The isomorphic phenomenon of Koebner. Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, Mumbai, 2004, 70: 187-189.

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