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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 26, Issue 4, 2020


Comparing acne follow-up: teledermatology versus outpatient dermatology visits

The application of teledermatology for evaluating acne patients has yielded comparable therapeutic outcomes with traditional face-to-face evaluation, but follow-up compliance between these modalities is not well-studied. Our objective is to compare the rate and duration of follow-up between acne patients initially evaluated by teledermatology versus in-person outpatient consultation. Electronic medical review of acne patients, 18-35 years-old seen via teledermatology and face-to-face evaluation at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center between 2010-2018 was performed. Teledermatology patients were less likely to follow-up in the first 90 days (13.0% versus 31.0%, P<0.001) compared to patients seen face-to-face with overall follow-up rates of 22% among both modalities. The median time to follow-up was 45.5 days (IQR: 13/57) in the teledermatology group compared to 64 days (IQR: 56/77) in the face-to-face group (P<0.001). Teledermatology patients were more likely to be treated with oral antibiotics (43.0% versus 28.5%) or oral spironolactone (18.5% versus 12.5%) compared to patients seen face-to-face (P<0.001). Teledermatology poses a promising solution to extend dermatologic care with earlier access to follow-up. Our data demonstrates a need to improve teledermatology follow-up education to improve follow-up care.

Does it match? Analyzing self-reported online dermatology match data to Charting Outcomes in the Match

Dermatology is arguably the most competitive residency (81.6% match rate for United States allopathic seniors) with significantly more applicants than available positions. To objectify this process, the National Residency Match Program (NRMP) has produced bi-annual Charting Outcomes in Match (COM) datasets, which aggregate data from the prior two application cycles and tabulate statistics to aid applicants. In parallel, online forums provide medical trainees with vast amounts of information, including residency application insights. Reddit medical school subforum compiles annual spreadsheets of anonymous, individualized applicant data to aid future applicants. We compared this data to NRMP data to show that although the data means are similar (e.g. Step 1), the Reddit dermatology spreadsheet collects more data and the individualized nature aids applicants in a personalized way unlike the mean aggregate data in NRMP. Under univariate analysis, Alpha Omega Alpha status, overall publications, and dermatology-specific publications are associated with interview invitation rates. Although limitations of the study include small data size and reporting bias, this is the first of its kind to our knowledge to compare these two often-used tools to aid dermatology applicants. Future endeavors should expand anonymous data reporting and use the data to carry out more extensive studies to investigate factors influencing the application process.


Safe Step Act: does it undermine step therapy?

Drug expenditure in the United States has continued to increase unsustainably; the specialty of dermatology has been particularly affected. Resources are limited - someone has to make decisions about what treatments will be covered and how they will be reimbursed. Step therapy is a cost-control method used by insurers to encourage the use of the most cost-effective treatments before more expensive options are attempted. However, a rigid step therapy policy can be problematic when protocols are out of date, or delay necessary treatment leading to unnecessary suffering, increased morbidity, and overall cost. To address some of these concerns, the proposed Safe Step Act (S. 2546 and H.R. 2279) attempts to create a requirement that insurers provide a transparent, expeditious exceptions process for step therapy protocols. Increased flexibility in this process will allow for the unique circumstances of individual patients and improve access to expensive drugs for special cases. However, this bill may be exploited, further weakening insurers' ability to negotiate on cost. We should be cautious about measures that reduce the effectiveness of this tool, particularly if we, as a society, aim to expand access to basic care to all Americans.

Erosive pustular dermatosis of the scalp following surgical procedures: a systematic review

Erosive pustular dermatosis of the scalp (EPDS) occurs in elderly individuals with significant actinic damage. EPDS also occurs in association with surgery; however, significant studies determining an association of EPDS with type of surgical closure is absent. This review examines whether the closure method following cutaneous surgery performed on the scalp is associated with development of EPDS. Databases were reviewed and studies describing EPDS after cutaneous surgery met inclusion criteria. Articles were excluded if EPDS developed after trauma or non-surgical procedures. Descriptive analyses were performed on the data. Thirteen case reports and 6 case series involving 32 patients met inclusion criteria. Fourteen articles (73.7%) stated that EPDS developed in the same location as, or near to, the closure site. Thirteen patients (40.6%) developed EPDS following skin grafting. Three patients (9.4%) developed EPDS following secondary intention healing, two patients (6.3%) following repair by primary intention, and one patient (3.1%) following repair with a local skin flap. Thirteen cases (40.6%) did not specify closure type. This review revealed that surgical procedures performed on the scalp utilizing skin grafts for closure may be increasingly associated with the development of EPDS compared to other closure types.

The readability of online patient information about laser resurfacing therapy

Because there are important distinctions between ablative and non-ablative laser resurfacing, accurate and effective patient education is paramount. However, as more patients use the internet as a resource for medical information, little is known about the content and readability of these sources. Thus, we sought to evaluate the readability of major online resources about laser resurfacing while recognizing the recommendations by the American Medical Association and National Institutes of Health. An internet search for the term "Laser Resurfacing" was performed. The first 9 results were identified, patient information from each of these 9 sites were downloaded, and a total of 25 articles were examined. Readability was analyzed using 7 different established tests. Analysis demonstrated an average grade level of at least 9th grade, with all articles exceeding the recommended 6th grade reading level, emphasizing that these resources are too challenging for many patients to read and comprehend. Such materials may hamper appropriate decision-making in patients considering the use of a laser for their dermatologic conditions. The potential detrimental effect on the opinion, participation, and satisfaction of laser resurfacing should spur dermatologists to be more critical of online patient materials and motivated to produce more appropriate resources.

Mohs micrographic surgery: a treatment method for many non-melanocytic skin cancers

Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) is a breakthrough surgical technique that has changed the management of neoplasms in dermatology. Through continued practice and evolution, MMS now can successfully treat a variety of rare non-melanocytic cutaneous malignancies for which achieving remission and the optimal aesthetic result after surgery was previously challenging. Mohs micrographic surgery has utility for conditions besides melanoma. Herein, we discuss this versatility of Mohs micrographic surgery. Specifically, Mohs micrographic surgery can be successfully used for cases such as dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, atypical fibroxanthomas, extramammary Paget disease, Merkel cell carcinoma, sebaceous carcinoma, and microcystic adnexal carcinoma.

Case Report

Eruptive pruritic papular porokeratosis or inflammatory form of disseminated superficial porokeratosis: a new case and review of the literature

Porokeratosis is a heterogeneous group of dermatoses with alterations of keratinization. Histologically, they are characterized by the presence of cornoid lamellae. Eruptive pruritic papular porokeratosis (EPPP) or the inflammatory form of disseminated superficial porokeratosis (or eruptive disseminated porokeratosis) is an infrequent variant, characterized by pruritic erythematous papules or annular lesions. We present a 72-year-old woman with EPPP, exhibited by pruritic lesions on the extremities and back, and review the literature concerning this condition. We found 32 cases of EPPP or inflammatory disseminated superficial porokeratosis (including the current case) reported in the literature, with a median age of 66 years (range, 13-84); 59.3% were men. Eruptive pruritic papular porokeratosis was associated with various neoplasms in 31.2% of cases. Six patients had an associated viral infection. Response to treatment was poor in most cases. Eruptive pruritic papular porokeratosis resolved spontaneously in 75% of cases. Median time to resolution was 6 months (range, 1-24). Eruptive pruritic papular porokeratosis (or inflammatory disseminated superficial porokeratosis/eruptive disseminated porokeratosis) is an infrequent variant of porokeratosis characterized by intense pruritus and spontaneous resolution in most individuals. Eruptive pruritic papular porokeratosis can be associated with neoplasms and screening for malignancies is recommended if clinically indicated.

A case of bullous Sézary syndrome

Sézary syndrome is a rare leukemic subtype of cutaneous T cell lymphoma that is characterized by erythroderma, lymphadenopathy, and malignant T cells in the peripheral blood. Poor prognostic factors of Sézary syndrome include advanced disease stage, older age at onset, and large cell transformation. Presentation with bullous lesions, though rare, has been reported in a few patients. We present an elderly woman with bullous Sézary syndrome who presented with a two-month history of progressive rash. Upon admission, the patient had pruritic, erythematous, edematous plaques with overlying flaccid bullae and erosions involving the scalp, neck, torso, and extremities. Despite treatment, the patient died two months after presentation. Although rare, bullous lesions associated with Sézary syndrome may indicate poor prognosis.

Case Presentation

Sabra dermatitis: combined features of delayed hypersensitivity and foreign body reaction to implanted glochidia

A striking dermatitis referred to by its colloquial designation of sabra dermatitis is associated with glochidia inoculation from the Opuntia cactus commonly known as the prickly pear. We report a 45-year-old woman who had an unexpected encounter with a cactus plant during a trip to Texas. She brushed up against the plant and was aware that she had been inoculated with several spines of the plant. Five days later she developed erythematous papules on the digits accompanied by swelling. The biopsy showed a very striking granulomatous reaction pattern within the dermis. There was a linear pattern of necrobiosis, likely representing a tract of inoculation injury palisaded by histiocytes including multinucleated forms. This necrobiotic tract demonstrated retained glochidia, each measuring roughly 40 to 70 microns in diameter. The nature of the inflammatory response is one that combines features of classic delayed hypersensitivity and an innate foreign body response. The glochidia are capable of eliciting a T cell mediated immune response; it is reasonable to assume that a Th1 cytokine signal is responsible for the unique pattern of inflammation including the secondary influx of neutrophils and relative lack of tissue eosinophilia.

Congenital atrichia with papular lesions

Congenital atrichia with papular lesions is a rare, autosomal recessive and irreversible form of total alopecia of the body hair characterized by hair loss soon after birth and the development of keratinfilled cysts or horny papules over extensive areas of the body. The condition is associated with a mutation of the human hairless gene on chromosome region 8p12. We report a 1-year-old boy presenting with the absence of scalp and body hair since birth. On examination, he had complete absence of hair on the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes. Multiple, discrete, pearly-to-skin-colored papules of 1-3mm in size were present over the scalp. The skin biopsy from a scalp papule revealed normal overlying epidermis with multiple keratin cysts and hypoplastic hair follicles in the upper dermis.

Mycobacterium mageritense tattoo infection: a known complication with a novel species

Non-pigmented rapidly growing mycobacteria are nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) capable of producing disease. We report a case of tattoo-associated NTM infection with a novel species: Mycobacterium mageritense. A 48-year-old man presented with a two-week history of a papulopustular eruption on the shaded areas of a tattoo that had been placed five weeks prior while in the Philippines. Histopathology from punch biopsies revealed suppurative granulomatous dermatitis with acid fast bacilli present. Subsequent matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometer identified the bacteria as Mycobacterium margeritense. After consultation with infectious disease specialists and culture susceptibilities, the patient was treated with three months of dual antibiotic therapy with minocycline and moxifloxacin. The patient experienced a slow but complete resolution of clinical skin findings after the course of treatment. Since discovery in 1997, M. mageritense infection has been demonstrated in a wide spectrum of disease, predominantly skin and soft tissue infections. The species has not been previously implicated in tattoo-associated NTM infections. M. mageritense should be considered as a specific type of mycobacteria in the differential diagnosis for tattoo-associated NTM infections owing to differences in antibiotic susceptibilities compared to other NTM species.

Photo Vignette

Skin wrinkling of the upper arms: a case of mid-dermal elastolysis

Mid-dermal elastolysis is a rare acquired elastic tissue disorder with about 100 cases reported in the literature. It is characterized by localized patches of finely wrinkled skin on the shoulder and upper extremities and a band-like loss of elastic tissue in the mid-dermal layer on biopsy. Some patients may have symptoms of discomfort, erythema, and/or pruritis. Mid-dermal elastolysis is predominantly seen in young to middle-aged Caucasian females and extensive skin involvement may lead to cosmetic concerns. Furthermore, it is important to rule out other disorders of elastic fiber that are associated with systemic involvement. We present a case of MDE, discuss the differential diagnosis, and describe characteristic clinical features and histology findings of each condition.

A leg ulcer with hard, yellow projections

Gout is a multisystem disease that may present in different ways. We report an elderly man who presented with a large ulcer of the left leg with hard yellow projections evolving for one year. Analytical study revealed a normal uric acid level, but histopathology showed a focal basophilic acellular material compatible with a gouty tophus. This tophus represents the cardinal feature of advanced gout and may present several challenges to wound care professionals. In fact, the ulcer in our patient persisted after one-year follow-up. Our aim is to alert clinicians about a rare cutaneous presentation of gout that may be increasingly diagnosed.

Unusual presentation of Kaposi sarcoma in an HIV-negative woman

Kaposi sarcoma typically presents as violaceous macules and papules in immunocompromised, specifically HIV-positive, patients. Its distinct clinical features often facilitate rapid diagnosis. In this article, we report a case of Kaposi sarcoma presenting as a concerning yet nondescript lesion in an HIV-negative woman. Although Kaposi sarcoma is frequently part of the differential diagnosis for skin lesions affecting HIV-positive patients, it is less frequently considered in HIV-negative individuals. Additionally, this case differs from the classic clinical presentation of Kaposi sarcoma by resembling a squamous cell carcinoma or superficial basal cell carcinoma. Therefore, it illustrates the importance of suspicious lesion biopsies to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Solitary nodule on the shoulder of an 11-year-old child

Plexiform fibrohistiocytic tumor is an uncommon soft tissue neoplasm of intermediate malignancy, most frequently occurring as a painless, slow-growing nodule that shows a distinct predilection for children and young adults. We report a healthy 11-year-old boy presenting with a 1-year history of an asymptomatic cutaneous nodule on his left shoulder. Histopathological and immunohistochemical analysis confirmed a diagnosis of plexiform fibrohistiocytic tumor. Despite following a usually benign clinical course, this neoplasm is prone to frequent local recurrence and occasional metastatic ability. It should be considered in the differential diagnosis of an enlarging nodule in pediatric patients.


Secukinumab-induced pompholyx in a psoriasis patient

With a prevalence of up to 20%, eczematous lesions are the most common skin adverse events of tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors. Eczematous lesions triggered by more modern biologics such as the IL17A antagonist secukinumab have been rarely reported. Herein, a case of secukinumab-induced pompholyx in a psoriasis patient is presented.

Development of Sézary syndrome following the administration of dupilumab

Dupilumab is a monoclonal antibody that inhibits interleukin-4 and interleukin-13 signaling. It is the first biologic agent to demonstrate efficacy in treating moderate-to-severe refractory atopic dermatitis [1, 2]. Although dupilumab provides promise for the treatment of atopic and allergic conditions, clinicians should take into account its novelty and the potential for unexpected adverse events. We present a patient who developed Sézary syndrome following the initiation of dupilumab.

The bicycle wheel analogy for linear closures of small suborbital cheek defects

Primary closure of suborbital skin defects can cause tension along the closure resulting in ectropion. The bicycle wheel analogy is a simple yet effective guide to aid in reducing tension vectors resulting in ectropion.

Laser hair reduction for hidradenitis suppurativa warrants insurance coverage

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic, painful disease that significantly reduces quality of life. Laser hair reduction is one modality that can be used in combination with other treatments to ameliorate the condition. We argue that insurance should provide coverage for this necessary service.

Basal cell carcinoma associated with erythema ab igne

Erythema ab igne is a skin condition mainly caused by heat exposure. Erythema ab igne usually follows a favorable prognosis. However, it may increase the risk of developing cutaneous malignancy in the involved skin. Being familiar with the type of cutaneous malignancies that may arise in the site of erythema ab igne is considerably important. To our knowledge, this letter presents the first case that shows the association between erythema ab igne and basal cell carcinoma.


Corrigendum: Unusual case of Paget disease of the nipple diagnosed by nipple scraping cytology

The original article was published on March 15, 2020 and corrected on April 15, 2020. The revised version of the article adds an Acknowledgements section. The changes appear in the revised online PDF copy of this article.