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Subcutaneous Fat Necrosis of the Newborn

David Allan Katz, MD; Christopher Huerter; Patrick Bogard, MD; Suzanne W. Braddock, MD
Arch Dermatol. 1984;120(11):1517-1518. doi:10.1001/archderm.1984.01650470123027.
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Subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn (SFNN) usually occurs during the first few weeks of life.1 It is characterized by necrosis of the subcutaneous fat with needle-shaped crystal formations within the fat cells. This process initiates a localized inflammatory process with foreign body giant cell formation.2 Subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn is represented clinically by multiple subcutaneous, indurated, erythematous plaques and nodules. The lesions are painless and are not warm to palpation.1,3 Common locations for these lesions include the buttocks, back, arms, thighs, and shoulders.4 Although the etiology of this condition is unknown, many theories concerning its cause have been postulated. Associations of SFNN with cold exposure, obstetrical trauma, asphyxia, idiopathic hypercalcemia, hyperprostaglandinemia, and pancreatitis have all been suggested.1,3-5 The following case offers support for neonatal asphyxia and trauma as possible etiologic factors in SFNN.

Report of a Case  A 43-week gestational-aged black male

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