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Arthritis and Rheumatism

What Do Koebner and Pathergy Tests Indicate?



I had a positive reaction to a Koebners test (doctor ran object across my skin and a red welt formed along its path). Now he wants to do a pathergy test (stick a needle in my skin to see if a reaction occurs). What is the significance of these two tests and does it mean I have rheumatic disease?


The classic conditions associated with the Koebner phenomenon are psoriasis, lichen planus, and vitiligo. The classic condition associated with skin pathergy is Behçet's disease. Behçet's disease often warrants a consultation with a Rheumatologist. The others are often evaluated and managed by a primary care physician or dermatologist.

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Response by:

Raymond  Hong, MD, MBA, FACR Raymond Hong, MD, MBA, FACR
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University