Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rwecalcitrant Warts

The patient is an 11 yo girl with difficult-to-treat warts present for 4 years.  Her pediatrician has used cryotherapy, and a vesicant.  They have tried salicylic acid under occlusion for a month and the warts have grown.

The child is very self-conscious.  What would you do?

A Thing of Beauty

The patient is a 7 year-old boy with a lesion present since infancy.  He was adpopted at age 11 months and prior history is unknown.  The lesion has changed only minimumly over the past few years.

O/E:  7 mm lesion with macular dots and two darker pigmented papules on the left abdomen. He has a small area of segmental vitiligo on the left neck.

Ckinical and Dermatoscopic Images:
Workup:  None at this time

Diagnosis:  Nevus spilus, Speckled Lentiginous Nevus
Note:  An association of segmental vitiligo with SLN has not been reported.


Speckled lentiginous naevus: which of the two disorders do you mean?
Happle R1.  Clin Exp Dermatol. 2009 Mar;34(2):133-5
Abstract: Speckled lentiginous naevus (synonym: naevus spilus) no longer represents one clinical entity, but rather, two different disorders can be distinguished. Naevus spilus maculosus is consistently found in phacomatosis spilorosea, whereas naevus spilus papulosus represents a hallmark of phacomatosis pigmentokeratotica. The macular type is characterized by dark speckles that are completely flat and rather evenly distributed on a light brown background, resembling a polka-dot pattern. In contrast, naevus spilus papulosus is defined by dark papules that are of different sizes and rather unevenly distributed, reminiscent of a star map. Histopathologically, the dark spots of naevus spilus maculosus show a 'jentigo' pattern and several nests of melanocytes involving the dermoepidermal junction at the tips of the papillae, whereas most of the dark speckles of naevus spilus papulosus are found to be dermal or compound melanocytic naevi. The propensity to develop Spitz naevi appears to be the same in both types of speckled lentiginous naevus, whereas development of malignant melanoma has been reported far more commonly in naevus spilus maculosus.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


The patient is a 73-year-old semi-retired carpenter who presents for evaluation of lesions on his back and eyelids.  Surprisingly, he did not mention his nose.

O/E: He has two epidermal inclusion cysts on the back some and some small skin tags around the right upper and lower lids (these lesions were snip excised).

More significantly, the skin of the distal nose it grossly thickened and patulous.

Clinical Photos:

Diagnosis:  Rhinophyma, Grade 3.

Although he did not initially express concerns regarding his nose, when I mentioned that there are treatments, the patient was very interested.

1. Basal cell carcinoma masked in rhinophyma.
De Seta D1, Russo FY, De Seta E, Filipo R.  Case Rep Otolaryngol. 2013;2013:201024.  Free Full Text.

2. Basal cell carcinoma and rhinophyma. Leyngold M et. al. Ann Plast Surg. 2008 Oct;61(4):410-2.
Abstract: Rhinophyma, the end stage in the development of acne rosacea, is characterized by sebaceous hyperplasia, fibrosis, follicular plugging, and telangiectasia. Although it is commonly considered a cosmetic problem, it can result in gross distortion of soft tissue and airway obstruction. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is a rare finding in patients with rhinophyma. The objective of this study is to review the literature of BCC in rhinophyma and report on a case. A 70-year-old male presented with long-standing rosacea that resulted in a gross nasal deformity. The patient suffered from chronic drainage and recurrent infections that failed conservative treatment with oral and topical antibiotics. The patient decided to proceed with surgical intervention and underwent tangential excision and dermabrasion in the operating room. Since 1955 there have been 11 cases reported in the literature. In our case, the pathology report noted that the specimen had an incidental finding of a completely resected BCC. The patient did well postoperatively and at follow-up remains tumor-free. Despite the uncommon occurrence of BCC in resection specimens for rhinophyma, we recommend that all specimens be reviewed by a pathologist. If BCC is detected, re-excision may be necessary and careful follow-up is mandatory. Larger studies would be needed to determine the correlation between the 2 conditions.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cryotherapy Gold Mine

Percent Reimbursement for Cryo per Medicare Payment

CPT Codes
17000 – Cryotherapy for One Lesion Reimbursed at: $59.88
17003 – Cryotherapy for > 1 Lesion   Reimbursed at: $8.05/lesion

Cryotherapy pattern of six dermatologists with practices in same area of New England.  All in private practice.  This only shows Medicare reimbursements (that probably account for 34 -- 40% of gross income).  

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Excoriated Acne with Hyperpigmentation

A 37 yo Haitian woman was seen complaining about hyperpigmented lesions on face and back.  By history, these followed acne which she has excoriated.  Her health is good otherwise and she takes no medication by mouth.

O/E:  Hyperpigmented papules and macules on face and torso in a young woman with Type V skin.  Some lesions show mild excoriation.

Clinical Photos:
Diagnosis:  Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in excoriated acne.

Comment:  In my area, we have few patients with Type V and VI skin.  This is a common problem, but I do not have much experience treating it.  What is your protocol?  I started her on tretinoin 0.05% cream as this may be covered by her insurance.

Note:  A Pubmed search for hyperpigmented acne scars retrieves only three references and all are to laser surgery which this patient can not afford. This problem must be extraordinarily common; yet the biomedical literature is strangely silent about it.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Active Nevus

17 yo boy seen for another problem.  Atypical nevus noted on left shoulder.

O/E:  Type III-IV skin. 5 mm papule with slight play of color clinically.  Pt. unaware of lesion.

Dermoscopic images shows pigment dots of varying sizes.

Dx:  Actively growing nevus.  Easy to excise with a 6 mm punch.  Best to do this of just observe?  Patient will be leaving for college in another city in a few months.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Unusual Facial Dermatosis

Abstract:  16 yo girl with 3 month history of annular dermatosis mid-forehead.

HPI:  This healthy 16 yo has had a 4 cm roughley circular plaque on the mid-forehead.  Takes no medications by mouth and is not aware of any OTC meds taken infrequently,  She has bued 1% hydrocortisone cream and also a topical imidazole without improvement.

O/E:  The lesion has fairly sharp borders.  The surface is somewhat gready.  KOH prep failed to demonstrate hyphae or spores.  The remainder of the cutaneous examination is unremarkable.

Clinical Photo:

Diagnosis:  The picture is suggestive of seborrheic dermatitis, but the circular nature is unusual. What are your thoughts?

Plan:  Betamethasone valerate 0.1% cream b.i.d. x 2 weeks sand then Elidel cream.  If it does not respond or if it recurs a biopsy will be done.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Unilateral/Segmental Vitiligo in a 9-year-old boy receiving Melagenina as treatment

HPI: The patient is a 9-year-old boy who developed loss of pigmentation on the right side of his face over a 3-month-period. The depigmentation of the skin progressed rapidly with no antecedent eruption, redness or trauma. There was no history of exposure to a chemical or irritant prior to depigmentation of the skin.

No medical history of hypothyroidism or other medical conditions.  No family history of vitiligo or autoimmune diseases. He often spends 2 to 6 hours in the sun playing outside only beginning to wear sunscreen recently. 

Diagnosis:  He appears to have a segmental or unilateral vitiligo.

He lives in Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico and has been evaluated by a dermatologist locally who confirmed the diagnosis clinically.  No biopsy was obtained.

Labs: TSH, complete blood count and chemistry panel were normal.

Prior/Current Treatment:  Melagenina solution
Since the patient is a citizen of Mexico, he and his family were able to travel freely to Cuba and obtained an appointment in the Vitiligo clinic evaluation and treatment after a 6-month wait. Their first visit to Cuba was in August, and they are expected follow-up in 6 months. He was given Melagenina solution to be applied twice a day to the depigmented areas of skin. Melagenina solution can only be obtained in Cuba at this time.  It is derived from placental extract that is mixed with an alcohol solution. He will return to Cuba in February 2016 for a follow-up visit and to obtain more Melagenina.

His mother has noticed some repigmentation of the treated areas.  The pictures shown are after using the treatment for 4 months.

Second Opinion in USA and Plan:
We recommended adding tacrolimus (Protopic 0.1%) ointment and a low-dose steroid such as mometasone furoate cream to his Melagenina treatment regimen to be applied twice a day. The patient was counseled on the importance of using a titanium and zinc oxide waterproof sunscreen on the face to prevent further darkening of the surrounding area and to protect the areas of depigmentation.


Vitiligo is a common skin disorder affecting about 1 to 2% of the world population. It commonly affects children and can be seen in different patterns.  This patient appears to have a unilateral or segmental pattern but not necessarily dermatomal. 
It has been shown that segmental vitiligo in children is relativley common and less frequently associated with systemic autoimmune diseases or endocrine disorders.

Treatment in the USA and Mexico includes using narrow band UVB phototherapy or psoralen with UVA phototherapy as well as topical low-dose steroids and tacrolimus combinations. Narrow band UVB phototherapy is considered one of the most efficacious treatments and can be used alone and in combination with topical steroids and tacrolimus. Some patients are also treated with the excimer lasers and have undergone melanocyte transplants. Melagenina or placental extracts are not used currently.

In the General de Mexico hospital, up to 50 cases of vitiligo are seen per day.  Many efforts are being made to increase awareness about vitiligo. One controversial issue in Mexico has been the exploration of naturalist physician care and unresearched treatments options. As we are aware, this is a consideration in the U.S. as well. Although the medical community wants to be open to new ideas involving topical and oral nutritional and botanical substances, in Mexico the concern is that patients will use their limited financial resources on unsubstantiated treatments. Phototherapy clinics treat vitiligo patients in the larger cities of Mexico, but unfortunately many patients, including this patient, could not travel regularly to these established clinics due to financial and transportation limitations.

1)   How safe, well regulated and efficacious is the Melangenina solution in the treatment of vitiligo? Should this be something explored more for patients in the USA?
2)   Should the patient inform the physicians in Cuba that they will be adding other topical medications to the regimen?
Out of respect to the Cuban dermatologists, we encouraged them to inform the clinic that a second opinion was sought out and new medications were started.  The patient and his family were unsure if the treatment with Melagenina was part of a clinical trial.

3)   Should we consider oral minipulse therapy with methylprednisolone? 
Although there are relapses and other considerations with oral steroid use in children, a few case reports and clinical trials have shown some benefits.
Lo, Yuan-Hsin, Gwo-Shing Cheng, Chieh-Chen Huang, Wen-Yu Chang, and Chieh-Shan Wu. "Efficacy and Safety of Topical Tacrolimus for the Treatment of Face and Neck Vitiligo." The Journal of Dermatology 37.2 (2010): 125-29. Web.


Majid, Imran et al. “Childhood vitiligo: response to methylprednisolone oral minipulse therapy and topical fluticasone combination.” Indian Journal of Dermatology 54.2 (2009): 124–127. PMC.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2807150/ 

 Shrestha, S., AK Ha, and DP Thapa. "An Open Label Study to Compare the Efficacy of Topical Mometasone Furoate with Topical Placental Extract versus Topical Mometasone Furoate with Topical Tacrolimus in Patients with Vitiligo Involving Less than 10% Body Surface Area." Nepal Medical College Journal 16.1 (2014): 1-4. Web.

Xu, Aie, Dekuang Zhao, and Yongwei Li. "Melagenine Modulates Proliferation and Differentiation of Melanoblasts." International Journal of Molecular Medicine Int J Mol Med (2008): n. pag. Web.


Confluent and Reticulated Papillomatosis

The patient is a 21 yo man with a six month history of subtle scaly patches on both axillae.  He was treated by is internist with ketoconazole cream without effect.  A KOH prep was done and was negative.

Clinical Image:

Patches are slightly yellowish and there are islands of sparing.

Pathology: Hyperkeratosis, papillomatosis (increased compared to specimen B), mild epidermal hyperplasia and a superficial perivascular lymphocytic infiltrate consistent with confluent and reticulated papillomatosis.
NOTE: The differential diagnosis could include acanthosis nigricans. PAS stain is negative for fungal organisms.
Photomicrographs courtesy of Jonathan Ho MD MS, Department of Dermatopathology, Boston University School of Medicine

Diagnosis: confluent and reticulated papillomatosis.

This is a difficult diagnosis clinically and histologically.  It's  a type of "dermatological non-disease."  Without the help of an experienced dermatopathologist I doubt that this diagnosis would have been arrived at.

The patient will be treated with minocycline, 100 mg bid for a month.  If this is CARP the process will be resolved.