Lipophagic panniculitis in re-excision specimens

B. D. Zelickson, R. K. Winkelmann

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Lipophagic panniculitis consists of a macrophage infiltrate in the subcutaneous tissue. The macrophages transform into foam cells within the panniculus; they replace lipocytes and may form giant cells. Although those pathologic features have been described as diagnositic of Weber-Christian disease, we report the occurrence of lipophagic panniculitis in re-excision specimens. Among 252 re-excision specimens from previously biopsied skin tumors, 5 cases in which masses of lipophages were infiltrating and replacing the subcutaneous tissue were found. The infiltrate was localized to the deep dermis and superficial subcutaneous tissue below and beside the initial biopsy site. In 3 cases, suture or hair was detected within the tissue, and granulation tissue with foreign body giant cells was observed along the dermal suture line. In 4 cases there was evidence of phlebitis within or close to areas of infiltration. None of these patients developed symptomatic panniculitis. Lipophagia can be a normal response of wound healing in some patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-61
Number of pages3
JournalActa Dermato-Venereologica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • fat replacement atrophy
  • macrophages in fat


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