June 1996

Spontaneous Atrophic Patches in Extremely Premature InfantsAnetoderma of Prematurity

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Prizant and Suarez) and Pediatrics (Dr Suarez), University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Pittsburgh, Pa, the Departments of Dermatology and Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Medical Center and Dermatology Associates of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (Dr Lucky), Departments of Dermatology and Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, Medical School, San Francisco, Calif (Dr Frieden), and Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City (Dr Burton).

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(6):671-674. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890300095013

Background:  Anetoderma, characterized clinically by macular depressions or outpouchings of skin, is associated with loss of dermal elastic tissue as noted on histopathologic findings. We report on 9 extremely premature infants who developed patches of anetoderma during their course in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Observations:  All 9 patients were born between the ages of 24 and 29 weeks of gestation and had numerous complications associated with prematurity. Eight of the 9 infants were noted to have developed anetoderma on the trunk and proximal extremities while in the neonatal intensive care unit. The locations of the lesions on the skin were not explained by previous trauma, although many areas corresponded with placement of monitoring leads or with adhesive for a monitoring device. Reduction or absence of elastic tissue supported the diagnosis of anetoderma in 4 of 5 biopsy specimens.

Conclusion:  We report a previously unrecognized type of anetoderma associated with extreme prematurity. The exact cause is uncertain, although reactions to cutaneous monitoring leads or adhesives is suspected.(Arch Dermatol. 1996;132:671-674)