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Spontaneous Atrophic Patches in Extremely Premature Infants:  Anetoderma of Prematurity

Tracy L. Prizant, MD; Anne W. Lucky, MD; Ilona J. Frieden, MD; Pamela S. Burton, MD; Sylvia M. Suarez, MD
Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(6):671-674. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890300095013.
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Background:  Anetoderma, characterized clinically by macular depressions or outpouchings of skin, is associated with loss of dermal elastic tissue as noted on histopathologic findings. We report on 9 extremely premature infants who developed patches of anetoderma during their course in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Observations:  All 9 patients were born between the ages of 24 and 29 weeks of gestation and had numerous complications associated with prematurity. Eight of the 9 infants were noted to have developed anetoderma on the trunk and proximal extremities while in the neonatal intensive care unit. The locations of the lesions on the skin were not explained by previous trauma, although many areas corresponded with placement of monitoring leads or with adhesive for a monitoring device. Reduction or absence of elastic tissue supported the diagnosis of anetoderma in 4 of 5 biopsy specimens.

Conclusion:  We report a previously unrecognized type of anetoderma associated with extreme prematurity. The exact cause is uncertain, although reactions to cutaneous monitoring leads or adhesives is suspected.(Arch Dermatol. 1996;132:671-674)

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