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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 29, Issue 4, 2023


A systematic review of the management of postoperative scars with silicone gel-based products in randomized controlled trials

Although postoperative scarring may be considered a cosmetic concern, it can greatly impact a patient's quality of life. This extends beyond psychosocial burden influenced by hypertrophic scars and keloids, as patients also experience discomfort and pain. This systematic review evaluates the efficacy of silicone gel (SG)-based products in preventing postoperative abnormal scar formation. Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, a PubMed search was performed to find randomized, controlled trials investigating the effect of SG-based products on postoperative wound healing. The search yielded 359 publications, but only 30 studies published between 1991-2022 were found to fit the inclusion criteria. Outcomes were extracted from the literature and subsequent quality and risk of bias assessments were performed. Most studies indicated improvement of at least one quality of the scar with the use of SG-based products. The greatest potential variable increasing bias was an inadequate control group. Studies also suffered from small sample sizes, use of unvalidated scar assessment scales, lack of double-blinding, and short follow-up periods. Overall, SG-based products demonstrated potential in preventing abnormal scar formation during postoperative healing, but further studies are required to validate the results of current literature.


Low dose oral minoxidil and the conundrum of cardiovascular complications

In recent months, the general public has become more cognizant of the potential of oral minoxidil to promote hair growth; this was promulgated, in part, by an article published in the New York Times entitled, "An Old Medicine Grows New Hair for Pennies a Day, Doctors Say." Minoxidil was added to the pharmacologic armamentarium as an antihypertensive nearly 60 years ago and was found to trigger hypertrichosis in many patients, but its use dropped sharply as cardiologists observed a number of adverse cardiovascular events including ischemic heart disease, left ventricular hypertrophy, pleural effusions, and pericardial effusions. Studies in the realm of dermatology have explored the utility and safety of low dose oral minoxidil (LDOM) for management of alopecia. This article highlights potential clinical conundrums posed by these rare but severe cardiovascular complications and the importance of collaboration between cardiologists and dermatologists when employing this agent in patients with cardiorenal or cardiovascular risk factors.

Case Presentation

A rare case of skin metastasis from a chordoma

Chordoma is an uncommon, indolent malignant tumor arising from notochordal remnants. The incidence of distant metastasis varies between 30 and 40% in different series. Even though local involvement of the skin by direct invasion of chordoma is common, distant skin metastasis are rare, with less than 30 cases reported in the literature. The present clinical case illustrates the slow-growing natural history of a sacral chordoma, which evolved with lung metastasis, followed three years later by skin metastasis, thus giving us the opportunity to review the diagnostic approach, as well as the clinical and histopathological characteristics of this rare tumor.

Sickle cell crisis presenting as livedo racemosa

Sickle cell disease is a monogenic hemoglobinopathy that results in the abnormal production of hemoglobin S, which yields the characteristic sickle-shaped red blood cells. Sickle cell vaso-occlusive crisis is a painful complication of sickle cell disease caused by red blood cell entrapment within the microcirculation. The resulting tissue ischemia triggers a secondary inflammatory process involved in the pathogenesis of varying inflammatory skin conditions. Chronic leg ulcers are the most common skin presentation in sickle cell disease. A 58-year-old woman with sickle cell disease presented with systemic edematous plaques with the most notable involvement of her bilateral legs, which exhibited reticulated purpuric patches with central pallor. We report a case highlighting an unusual presentation of livedo racemosa as the presenting sign in a patient with sickle cell disease in vaso-occlusive crisis.

Neutrophilic urticarial dermatosis preceding adult-onset Still's disease

Neutrophilic urticarial dermatosis is a distinct entity strongly associated with underlying autoinflammatory disease. The pathogenesis of this condition has been considered to center around interleukin-1. We report a young woman with neutrophilic urticarial dermatosis who presented with a recurrent urticarial rash for two years prior to the onset of other systemic features including persistent fevers, sore throat, leukocytosis, elevated ferritin, and splenomegaly. She was ultimately diagnosed with adult-onset Still disease and responded well to treatment with systemic corticosteroids. Although neutrophilic urticarial dermatosis is known to occur in the setting of systemic symptoms and disease, its occurrence preceding the onset of systemic inflammation is less well-described in current literature.

Lenalidomide-induced symmetrical drug-related intertriginous and flexural exanthema

Symmetric drug-related intertriginous and flexural exanthema (SDRIFE) is a cutaneous drug reaction that presents with symmetrical erythema in the flexures. The reaction typically appears hours-to-days after drug exposure but has been reported to occur months after drug initiation. Diagnostic criteria include cutaneous reaction after exposure to a systemic drug, erythema of the gluteal region and/or V-shaped erythema of the inguinal areas, involvement of an additional intertriginous site, symmetry, and absence of systemic involvement. The rash typically presents as macular erythema. However, variations in morphology have been reported including papules, pustules, vesicles, and bullae. The histopathology of SDRIFE is non-specific and the diagnosis is made clinically. Cessation of the causative drug leads to gradual rash resolution. Beta-lactam antibiotics are the most implicated medications but case reports describe SDRIFE following monoclonal antibodies, chemotherapeutic agents, and various other medications. We present a patient with SDRIFE secondary to lenalidomide, an immunomodulatory agent. This case highlights the importance of considering SDRIFE in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with intertriginous erythema.

Cutaneous larva migrans in the northeastern US

Cutaneous larva migrans (CLM) is a dermo-epidermal parasitic infection with a disproportionate incidence in developing countries, particularly in, and near tropical areas. It is characterized by erythematous, twisting, and linear plaques that can migrate to adjacent skin. Herein, we present an otherwise healthy 45-year-old woman who acquired a pruritic, erythematous, and serpiginous rash localized to her right medial ankle during a trip to New England. Oral ivermectin, the preferred first-line treatment for cutaneous larva migrans, was administered in combination with triamcinolone. This was followed by removal of the papular area via punch biopsy; treatment was successful with a one-week recovery. Although cutaneous larva migrans has traditionally been considered a tropical disease, clinicians should be cognizant of its expanding geographic spread.

Photo Vignette

Invisible palmar needles: thyroid disorder associated spiny keratoderma and the importance of proper light for visualization

Spiny keratoderma is a rare skin condition that presents on the palmar and plantar surfaces of the hands and/or feet. This condition is difficult to appreciate under ambient lighting but can be both physically and emotionally distressing to patients. Furthermore, because of the association with various neoplasms and systemic diseases, timely diagnosis and appropriate follow-up is of importance. We evaluate a case of spiny keratoderma in a patient with recently diagnosed hypothyroidism and emphasize the importance of proper lighting during a dermatology-focused physical examination. The patient's palmar lesions were only appreciable under LED light and with physical examination. A biopsy of the lesions confirmed the diagnosis of spiny keratoderma.

Erosive lesion of the nipple: What is your diagnosis?

Erosive and oozing lesions of the nipple, especially when unilateral, should raise suspicion about malignant neoplasms. Herein we report a patient with typical clinical and histopathological features of erosive adenomatosis of the nipple (EAN). It is an uncommon, benign proliferative process of lactiferous ducts of the nipple. Clinically, EAN is characterized by erosion, serous discharge, edema, itching, and erythema of one of the nipples. Complete excision of the tumor yields excellent results. Although EAN is a rare disease, clinicians must be aware of this benign neoplasm in patients with erosive lesions of the nipple. The main concern is the need to rule out malignant proliferations in the differential diagnosis. Histology is the gold standard for diagnosis. The coexistence of nipple adenoma and breast cancer is well-reported in the literature. Thus, it is necessary to encourage patients with a history of EAN to maintain regular breast screening.

Subepidermal calcified nodule presenting as a cutaneous horn: two cases and a review of the literature

Subepidermal calcified nodules are an uncommon subtype of idiopathic calcinosis cutis. Morphologically, this entity typically present as a single, well-circumscribed, white-yellow nodule. Based on clinical appearance alone, subepidermal calcified nodules are frequently misdiagnosed and often requires histological confirmation. We describe two cases of subepidermal calcified nodules presenting atypically as cutaneous horns. Subepidermal calcified nodules presenting as a cutaneous horn has rarely been reported; on review, there are fewer than 10 such cases have been described within the past 30 years. The cases described here illustrate the clinical variety and should increase awareness of subepidermal calcified nodules presented.

Dynamic ultrasound examination: a useful tool for the diagnosis of multiple muscular hernias

Muscular hernias are an uncommon condition that typically present as subcutaneous nodules on the legs that appear or enlarge while standing or exercising. They are usually asymptomatic, although they may sometimes be tender or painful and may cause cramps, especially in athletes. Physical examination and ultrasound imaging are the key for determining the diagnosis. We present a 67-year-old woman with tender subcutaneous nodules on both lower legs in which dynamic ultrasound examination confirmed the diagnosis of muscular hernias.