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January 1992

Middermal Elastolysis in an Elderly Man With Evidence of Elastic Fiber Phagocytosis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology I, University of Vienna (Austria) Medical School.

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(1):88-90. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680110098014

• Background.—  Middermal elastolysis is a clinically and histologically distinct entity. This idiopathic loss of dermal elastic fibers has mostly been reported in younger adults. To our knowledge, the present case, which has been followed up for 4 years, is the first to occur in an elderly man.

Observations.—  Two years after the onset of progressive wrinkling of the upper aspect of the thorax, the patient underwent a biopsy. Histologic examination of the specimens confirmed previous findings of middermal elastolysis. Examination of extracutaneous elastic tissue showed normal findings. Electron microscopy demonstrated elastic fibers embraced by macrophages, which is suggestive of elastic fiber phagocytosis. For the following 4 years, the patient has remained in stable clinical condition.

Conclusions.—  Middermal elastolysis is probably more common than has been assumed so far. It does not affect nondermal elastic tissue. After progressive loss of dermal elasticity in a circumscribed area, a benign course follows, with a stable condition over several years. Electron microscopic findings indicate that elastic fiber phagocytosis is operative in the disappearance of the middermal elastic tissue.(Arch Dermatol. 1992;128:88-90)

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