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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

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Dermatology Online Journal is an open-access, refereed publication intended to meet reference and education needs of the international dermatology community since 1995. Dermatology Online Journal is supported by the Department of Dermatology UC Davis, and by the Northern California Veterans Administration.

Volume 25, Issue 3, 2019


Animated video consultation for reducing pre-operative anxiety in dermatologic surgery

Pre-operative anxiety is common in patients undergoing dermatologic surgery. This pilot study aimed to evaluate whether the addition of an animated educational video to conventional in-person surgery consultation helps to reduce pre-operative anxiety related to anesthesia, surgery, wound care, and post-operative pain in patients undergoing outpatient dermatologic surgery. Patients awaiting dermatologic surgery were randomized into groups with conventional consultation, or video with consultation prior to undergoing their procedure. The conventional consultation group received conventional consultation with the surgeon, whereas the video with consultation group received conventional consultation and a two-minute-long animated educational video. Intra- and inter-individual score differences were assessed based on baseline and subsequent surveys. Although not statistically significant, video with consultation group anxiety scores were lower than conventional consultation group across all categories. After crossing over, conventional consultation group patients reported statistically significant improvement in anxiety related to all areas except wound care, in which anxiety did not change significantly, although a trend toward reduced anxiety was seen. Animated educational videos during surgical consultation can reduce pre-operative anxiety related to anesthesia, surgery, and post-operative pain. Future studies should explore its benefit to clinical outcomes and overall surgical experience.


Revised Mohs surgery care guidelines for squamous cell carcinoma in-situ are overdue

The treatment of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma in situ by Mohs micrographic surgery is currently deemed as appropriate by the Mohs Appropriate Use Criteria. However, squamous cell carcinoma in situ is a very superficial, indolent, low-risk tumor amenable to destructive and non-surgical treatments. It is uncommon for squamous cell carcinoma in situ to have progressed to invasive malignancy subsequent to definitive management. The suggestion that squamous cell carcinoma in situ on certain anatomic locations has a poorer prognosis is widely assumed but lacks an evidence base. We recommend that most primary squamous cell carcinoma in situ in non-immunosuppressed patients be scored inappropriate or uncertain for Mohs micrographic surgery by the Mohs Appropriate Use Criteria. Multiple other efficacious treatment options exist for managing squamous cell carcinoma in situ, including curettage and cryotherapy, curettage and electrodessication, and topical therapies.

Adherence to a novel home phototherapy system with integrated features

Objective: To measure adherence using a novel home UVB phototherapy system designed to promote adherence.

Study Design: A retrospective, observational study conducted to evaluate patients' adherence to a prescribed three-times-per-week treatment protocol using a novel home phototherapy system with integrated features designed to improve adherence.

Methods: Data was collected from 18 psoriasis patients, 27 vitiligo patients, and three atopic dermatitis patients using a novel home phototherapy system under normal use conditions. Adherence was also calculated using two alternative methods to allow for comparison between published phototherapy adherence studies.

Results: The median patient adherence (N= 48) to treatment with the home phototherapy system was 80%. There were no significant differences in adherence between different ages, genders, or diseases (P>0.05). Early adherence (N=48) to the home phototherapy system was 90% and dichotomous adherence (N=32) was 71%.

Conclusions: By implementing a smartphone application and web-based portal with the home phototherapy system, patients have multiple mechanisms in place to ensure adherence.

Sexual dimorphism and transgender medicine: appealing to a viewer's sense of beauty

Sexual dimorphism — the phenotypic structural differences between male and female faces — has been shown to be an important universal component of beauty. This concept plays a key role in facial feminization surgery (FFS), which consists of contouring and reshaping features of the skull itself to alter the foundation of the face. FFS has been shown to improve quality of life among transgender women and therefore an understanding of the procedure and the concept of sexual dimorphism is key for plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and other healthcare providers.

Case Report

Unilateral granuloma annulare in association with pyoderma gangrenosum and chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Granuloma annulare (GA) is a fairly common inflammatory skin condition with a range of clinical subtypes. We describe an unusual case of unilateral GA confined to the thigh on a previously amputated limb. A man in his 80s with a past medical history of below-knee amputation of the left leg owing to severe leg ulcers from pyoderma gangrenosum, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and dyslipidemia developed a slowly spreading eruption on the distal stump spreading proximally. On physical examination, he had numerous non-scaly violaceous papules and annular plaques from the stump to the lateral, medial, and anterior thigh. Histology confirmed a diagnosis of GA. The extensive, chronic lesions make this presentation of GA very unusual in that it shares features of both localized and generalized forms. Moreover, the temporal and spatial association with pyoderma gangrenosum is unique and may reflect a related inflammatory pathway.

A novel case of TIF1 gamma autoantibody positive dermatomyositis associated with a non-functional pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor

Dermatomyositis (DM) is an idiopathic inflammatory myopathy characterized by proximal muscle weakness associated with a distinct cutaneous eruption. The association of DM with malignancy has been extensively described in the literature. Patients with DM that also have transcriptional intermediary factor 1

Case Presentation

The nail flag sign in heart transplant recipients: case reports and review of the patients with the flag sign of the nail

The nail plate flag sign is a distinctive nail plate change that appears as white, red, white, and red sequential transverse bands beginning at the proximal nail fold. This distinctive nail change was initially described in patients with diabetes mellitus and leprosy; indeed, it was considered to be characteristic, but not diagnostic of leprosy. Subsequently, the flag sign was observed in patients with vitiligo. The flag sign has recently been noted in two men following heart transplantation. In summary, the flag sign is a unique nail change that has occurred in patients with autoimmune disorders, infection, and post transplantation surgery associated with immunosuppressive therapy to prevent organ rejection.

Ulcerated tophaceous gout

Gout is a common inflammatory arthropathy with a high prevalence worldwide. Increased levels of uric acid in the blood lead to deposition of monosodium urate crystals in the joints, inflammation, and pain. Acute gout attacks are often sudden, monoarticular, and typically resolve within a week, whereas chronic gout is often polyarticular with baseline pain between attacks. In chronic gout, depositions of uric acid known as tophi can form throughout the body. Despite the high prevalence of gout and the frequency with which tophi occur, ulceration over tophi is surprisingly rare. We report the case of a 38-year-old man, undiagnosed with gout, who presented to clinic for evaluation of ulcers with chalky white granules. The wounds were determined to be ulcerated tophaceous gout. Risk factors for ulceration over tophi and reported treatments are discussed.

Persistent generalized Grover disease: complete remission after treatment with oral acitretin

Grover disease (GD) is a disorder of unknown origin, clinically characterized by the occurrence of pruritic, erythematous or brownish papules and papulovesicles, which histologically reveal four different patterns of acantholysis. Usually, the eruption is self-limited and spontaneously remit within a few weeks. In some cases, however, it may persist for months or even years and show a therapy-resistant course. We report a 56-year-old woman with recalcitrant, persistent, and generalized GD who showed complete remission after 6 weeks of treatment with oral acitretin (0.8mg/kg/day). The treatment was well-tolerated and laboratory parameters remained unchanged. The patient remains free of any recurrence at 26 months. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a complete remission of the persistent form of GD as a result of oral acitretin monotherapy.

Photo Vignette

Elastosis perforans serpiginosa related to vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

Elastosis perforans serpiginosa (EPS) is a rare skin disease with elimination of connective tissue fibers from dermis to epidermis. The typical presentation shows hyperkeratotic red or skin-colored papules arranged in a circinate pattern. We present a 26-year-old woman with EPS known to have vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Multiple flat-topped scaly violaceous papules

Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV) is an autosomal recessive genodermatosis characterized by susceptibility to beta-genus human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Owing to TMC6/EVER1 and TMC8/EVER2 mutations that lead to abnormal transmembrane channels in the endoplasmic reticulum involved in immunological pathways, keratinocytes cannot combat infection from non-pathogenic HPV strains. Mutations involving RHOH, MST-1, CORO1A, and IL-7 have also been associated with EV in patients without TMC6 or TMC8 mutations. We highlight a 27-year-old man with multiple violaceous flat-topped papules with scale and irregular borders distributed on his chest, extremities, abdomen, and back. The striking physical examination and the subsequent biopsy findings of enlarged nests of cells in the granular and spinous layers with blue-gray cytoplasm and keratohyaline granules confirmed the diagnosis. We conclude with a brief discussion on the differential diagnosis, which includes confluent and reticulated papillomatosis, Darier disease, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis.

A case of cutaneous nodules in a sporotrichoid pattern

A sporotrichoid pattern describes a clinical presentation in which inflammatory nodules spread along the path of lymphatic drainage, being reported in association with several infectious, neoplastic, and inflammatory skin conditions. Herein, we report a 65-year-old man presenting with a three-month history of erythematous nodules in a linear distribution along the left hand and forearm. He reported recent rose gardening and regular contact with an aquarium. The diagnosis was made through culture of skin biopsy tissue and isolation of Mycobacterium marinum. The patient was treated with a combination of clarithromycin and rifampicin and clinical resolution was evident within two months. We present a patient with a sporotrichoid cutaneous infection by Mycobacterium marinum, highlighting that even with the availability of novel microbiological detection techniques, tissue culture remains an essential tool for diagnostic confirmation.

Late onset nevus comedonicus of scalp: a rare site for an uncommon condition

Nevus comedonicus is an uncommon hamartoma of the pilosebaceous unit characterized by keratin filled pits simulating open comedones. It may present at birth but is more commonly seen during childhood or adolescence. The most commonly affected sites are the face, neck, trunk, and arms with a few reported cases on palms, genitalia, and scalp. We report a case of a 19-year old woman with nevus comedonicus of the scalp that appeared in adolescence. This case has been presented for its sheer rarity, atypical site, and classic appearance.

A diagnostic challenge: inflamed and pigmented seborrheic keratosis. Clinical, dermoscopic, and histopathological correlation

Pigmented and irritated types of seborrheic keratosis (SK) can be confused with melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, or pigmented actinic keratosis. Dermoscopic examination may give many clues for the diagnosis of SK, but in equivocal cases the accurate diagnosis can only be made by microscopic features. Herein, we report a striking, isolated pigmented and inflamed SK, located on the waist in an elderly man. Although the duration of the lesion was not clear, a recent change in color was reported. The striking dark pigmentation and lack of visible characteristic features for SK led us to consider other pigmented lesions, mainly melanoma, which it closely resembled. Dermoscopic examination was inconclusive with subtle clues for SK, such as brown-gray dots, small brownish clods, a few curved short lines, and few small pinkish round structures. Histopathological and immunohistochemical examinations revealed an inflamed and pigmented SK. In conclusion, pigmented and inflamed SK does not usually tend to show typical dermoscopic features of SK and may mimic other pigmented lesions, including melanoma. All skin lesions that cannot be classified as clearly benign should undergo biopsy.


The cotton tipped applicator – a scratch for the itch and more during dermatologic surgery

An itch during surgery can be distracting. Sterile cotton tipped applicators are inexpensive and multipurpose tools that may be used for a variety of simple surgical tasks such as scratching an itch on the surgeon or patient’s face. They may also be used to adjust glasses and turn on surgical lights or the electrocautery machine.

Medical school ranking and dermatology match results: an analysis of the 2018 match data

Dermatology is a specialty with fewer residency positions each year than total applicants, leading to increased competition in the match. Applicants tend to have substantial research experience and high national board scores. This study sought to explore whether there is a difference in the percentage of graduates matching into dermatology residencies based on the rank of the medical school. Publicly available match lists from highly ranked medical schools were compared to match lists from other allopathic schools to determine the proportion of graduates matching into dermatology. The data was analyzed using a chi square test and a significant difference was found between the percentage of students matching into dermatology from top schools (5.19%) compared to control schools (1.92%), (P<0.0001).

Identification of a novel mutation in the ST14 gene in an Iranian family with ichthyosis and hypotrichosis

Inherited ichthyosis is a heterogeneous group of rare cutaneous disorders characterized by hyperkeratosis and scaly skin. So far, only a few genetic studies on ichthyosis have been performed in Iran. Herein, we reported a family with two cases of ichthyosis and hypotrichosis that were investigated by whole exome sequencing. Targeted data analysis identified a novel nonsense variant c.1243C>T (p.Gln415Ter) located at exon 11 of the ST14 gene in the proband. Sanger sequencing showed co-segregation of this mutation with the disease in this family. Further studies are needed to develop knowledge about the spectrum of changes in this gene and their effects on protein function and disease phenotype.