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Dermatology Online Journal

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Cutaneous complication of perinatal hypoxia


Subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn is an uncommon, transient, and self-healing panniculitis, mostly affecting term newborns with perinatal complications. The authors present a case of a female full-term neonate, born from an uncomplicated pregnancy, admitted into the neonatology unit 5 hours after delivery because of refractory multifocal seizures in the context of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Nine days after birth, indurated and erythematous nodules and plaques were noted on the left arm and back. Skin biopsy was compatible with subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn. Laboratory evaluation including serum calcium showed normal values. No treatment was initiated. This entity generally follows an uncomplicated course. However, there are important complications for which the patient must be regularly monitored, including thrombocytopenia, hypoglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and most importantly, hypercalcemia. Patients should have serial serum calcium determinations for up to 6 months after the appearance of the skin lesions. The early diagnosis and prompt treatment of hypercalcemia are essential to prevent severe complications.

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