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Sarcoidosis in a dental surgeon: a case report

Luigi Checchi1, Maria C Nucci2*, Antonietta M Gatti3, Daniele Mattia2 and Francesco S Violante2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Periodontology and Implantology, School of Dentistry, University of Bologna, Italy

2 Occupational Medicine Unit, S. Orsola-Malpighi Hospital, Bologna, Italy

3 CNISM, Laboratory of Biomaterials, Department of Neurosciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2010, 4:259  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-4-259

Published: 10 August 2010



Although the causes of sarcoidosis are still unknown, past and current studies have provided evidence that this disease may be associated with occupational exposure to specific environmental agents. We describe a case of sarcoidosis in a dental surgeon with long exposure to inorganic dusts. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of this kind in the literature.

Case presentation

At the beginning of 2000, a 52-year-old Caucasian man, who worked as a dental surgeon, presented with shortness of breath during exercise, cough and retrosternal pain. After diagnosis of sarcoidosis, a scanning electronic microscopy with X-ray microanalysis of biopsy specimens was used in order to determine whether the disease could be traced to an occupational environmental agent. Results showed the presence of inorganic dust particles within sarcoidotic granulomas, and demonstrated that the material detected was identical to that found in a powder used by our patient for several years.


Although these results cannot be considered as definitive proof, they do however provide strong evidence that this disease may be associated with material used by dental surgeons.