September 1991

Picture of the Month

Author Affiliations

Contributed from the Division of Neonatology, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(9):1047-1048. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160090099033

Denouement and Discussion 

Subcutaneous Fat Necrosis of the Newborn 

Manifestations  Subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn is a benign condition of unknown origin affecting the subcutaneous fat tissue in the first weeks of life. It is characterized clinically by multiple subcutaneous, indurated, erythematous plaques and nodules that are neither tender nor warm to palpation. The condition begins as an area of edema at the affected sites and rapidly progresses to variably circumscribed, confluent, red lesions that change to a purple hue in several days. The skin appears taut and shiny. The lesions may become fluctuant, and spontaneous drainage of necrotic fat may occur. Areas of the body most com monly involved are the buttocks, back, arms, thighs, legs, and shoulders.Results of histologie examination of the condition typically in clude necrosis of subcutaneous fat with needle-shaped crystal formation in the fat cells. Calcium deposits are sometimes seen in the central

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