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April 1985

Pott's Puffy Tumor A Clinical Marker for Osteomyelitis of the Skull

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco.

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(4):548-549. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660040132029

In 1771, Sir Percivall Pott1 described a condition in which massive soft-tissue swelling of the scalp was associated with an underlying osteomyelitis of the skull. This swelling is known as "Pott's puffy tumor." Sporadic cases reported in the literature have included both adults and children.2 Herein, we report such a case that occurred in an elderly man.

Report of a Case  A 74-year-old man had been well until two months before examination, when he had noticed the gradual onset of erythema, mild scaling, and bogginess of the midforehead, without associated fever or tenderness. He was then seen by a physician in Mexico and was given an intramuscular injection of penicillin for presumed erysipelas; the soft-tissue swelling did not resolve. He was reevaluated by another physician, who performed a needle aspiration of the frontal scalp. The culture grew coagulase positive Staphylococcus aureus, but a blood culture was negative for

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