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papule vs. pustule

papule vs. pustule: What's the difference?

Both papules and pustules are medical terms for small elevations of the skin. A papule is somewhat pointed and inflammatory but doesn’t produce or discharge pus. A pustule is any small swelling that by definition contains pus. To distinguish the two words, remember that the word pustule also contains the word pus.

[ pap-yool ]
  1. a small, somewhat pointed elevation of the skin, usually inflammatory but nonsuppurative.
[ puhs-chool ]
  1. a small elevation of the skin containing pus.
  2. any pimplelike or blisterlike swelling or elevation.

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