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December 1985

Blue Macules of Localized Argyria Caused by Implanted Acupuncture Needles: Electron Microscopy and Roentgenographic Microanalysis of Deposited Metal

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan (Drs Tanita, Kato, and Tagami), and Hirosaki University School of Medicine, Hirosaki, Japan (Dr Hanada).

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(12):1550-1552. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660120076024

• Acupuncture needles implanted in the skin for more than ten years caused peculiar bluish macules, each of which clinically resembled a blue nevus in the extremities of a 63-year-old Japanese woman. Histologically, the involved skin showed deposition of fine brownish granules in the basement membrane of the eccrine sweat glands, on the inner surface of the blood vessel walls, and along elastic fibers of the superficial dermis in addition to sparse deposits noted throughout the dermis. Electron microscopy revealed deposits of electron-dense particles on the basal lamina of the secretory coils of the eccrine sweat glands, below the basal lamina of the dermoepidermal junction, and on elastic fibers. Roentgenographic microanalysis of the involved skin demonstrated that most of the granules consisted of silver and chloride; silver was a major component in the removed needles.

(Arch Dermatol 1985;121:1550-1552)