There are two conditions in young infants which may properly be called sclerema. In early usage the term was probably employed to designate a diffuse hardening of the subcutaneous tissues occurring in weakly or marasmic infants, not necessarily new-born. It is a terminal condition, somewhat rare, sometimes seen as a complication in serious infantile diseases. For this entity the term "preagonic induration" has been suggested.
The second condition, to which the term "sclerema neonatorum" may properly be applied, becomes evident within the first few weeks of life and usually disappears after three or four months. The lesions consist of sharply defined areas of induration, attached to the skin but not to the deeper tissues and affecting the back, the buttocks, the shoulders, the cheeks and the calves of the legs. The skin is frequently livid. Softening and fluctuation have been observed and occasionally formation of cysts. The general health is
McINTOSH JF, WAUGH TR, ROSS SG. SCLEREMA NEONATORUM (SUBCUTANEOUS FAT NECROSIS). Am J Dis Child. 1938;55(1):112-123. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1938.01980070121010