Published On: September 8th, 20200 Comments

We at HS Heroes would like to honour some of the first known warriors in the HS fight. 

The first known mention of the condition, that would eventually be named Hidradenitis Suppurativa Disease in medical literature, was in May of 1833. It was written by Alfred Velpeau (18 May 1795 – 24 August 1867) who was an anatomist and surgeon from Paris, France. In all, he would go on to publish 3 papers between 1833 and 1839 on the condition.

Fifteen years after Velpeau’s last article, another Paris surgeon named Aristide Verneuil wrote about a condition he called Hidrosadénite Phlegmoneuse. In English it translates as Hidradenitis Suppurativa which means a sweat gland that is inflamed [Hidradenitis] containing or associated with the formation of pus [Suppurativa].  If you have researched alternative names of HS at all, you may have come across the name Verneuil’s disease, which is named for this doctor.  It was Verneuil who conducted the first clinical studies of HS.

The next major milestone of the disease came in 1922 when a Dr. Schiefferdecker classified sweat glands into eccrine and apocrine glands, and noted HS mainly targets areas with apocrine sweat glands. Other doctors who have contributed to the HS knowledge base include Doctors Pillsbury, Plewig and Steger, both together and separately. It was years of research on HS which led them to propose the name Acne Inversa instead of Hidradenitis Suppurativa in 1989.

The names of the patients these doctors were treating have sadly been forgotten, but their contributions live on. 


Author: Michael Wiens







– Hidradenitis suppurativa was first described as a distinct entity in 1839, when Velpeau reported a patient with superficial abscess formation in the axillary, mammary, and perianal regions.

In 1854, Verneuil associated the suppurative process with the sweat glands, and the condition was given its current name.

For many years, the condition was described as Verneuil disease, but it subsequently became known as hidradenitis suppurativa.

In 1922, Schiefferdecker classified the sweat glands as eccrine and apocrine, and he subsequently localized hidradenitis suppurativa to the apocrine glands

From the Wikipedia article on Alfred Velpeau found here

Alfred-Armand-Louis-Marie Velpeau (18 May 1795 – 24 August 1867) was a French anatomist and surgeon.

From the history section of HS Wikipedia page found here

From 1833 to 1839 in a series of three publications, Velpeau identified and described a disease we now know as hidradenitis suppurativa 

In 1854, Verneuil described hidradenitis suppurativa as hidrosadénite Phlegmoneuse. This is how HS obtained its alternate name “Verneuil’s disease”

In 1922, Schiefferdecker hypothesized a pathogenic link between “acne inversa” and human sweat glands

  • In 1975, Plewig and Kligman, following Pillsbury’s research path, modified the “acne triad”, replacing it with the “acne tetrad: acne triad, plus pilonidal sinus“.[52] Plewig and Kligman’s research follows in Pillsbury’s footsteps, offering explanations of the symptoms associated with hidradenitis suppurativa.
  • In 1989, Plewig and Steger’s research led them to rename hidradenitis suppurativa, calling it “acne inversa” – which is not still used today in medical terminology, although some individuals still use this outdated term.[53]

-A surgeon from Paris, Velpeau described an unusual inflammatory process with formation of superficial axillary, submammary, and perianal abscesses, in a series of three publications from 1833 to 1839. One of his colleagues also located in Paris, named Verneuil, coined the term hidrosadénite phlegmoneuse about 15 years later. This name for the disease reflects the former pathogenetic model of acne inversa, which is considered inflammation of sweat glands as the primary cause of hidradenitis suppurativa. 

-In 1922, Schiefferdecker suspected a pathogenic association between acne inversa and apocrine sweat glands. In 1956 Pillsbury postulated follicular occlusion as the cause of acne inversa, which they grouped together with acne conglobata and perifolliculitis capitis abscendens et suffodiens (dissecting cellulitis of the scalp) as the “acne triad”. Plewig and Kligman added another element to their acne triad, pilonidal sinus. Plewig et al. noted that this new “acne tetrad” includes all the elements found in the original “acne triad”, in addition to a fourth element, pilonidal sinus. In 1989, Plewig and Steger introduced the term “acne inversa”, indicating a follicular source of the disease and replacing older terms such as “Verneuil disease“.