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To the Editor.—
We have recently seen four young adult males who, during their recuperation from knee surgery, developed a sunburn which spared a 3- to 4-cm circular area distal and lateral to the inferior pole of the patella (Figure). In each patient the infrapatellar branch of the saphenous nerve was transected during the surgical procedure, resulting in an anesthetic area corresponding to the non-sunburned area. Tanning of this area did not occur. OverLateral aspect of left knee, demonstrating sunburn sparing of involved area. one year's time this anesthetic, non-sunresponsive area slowly decreased in size.Several mechanisms can be postulated for this phenomenon, the most likely of which is an inhibition of vasodilitation in the denervated area. Further study of this interesting reaction may clarify the mechanism of the phototoxic response.
Garcia RL. Sunburn. Arch Dermatol. 1972;106(4):600-601. doi:10.1001/archderm.1972.01620130106040