Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dermatology Online Journal

Dermatology Online Journal bannerUC Davis


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 21, Issue 8, 2015


Dermatology consultations in a tertiary care hospital: A retrospective study of 243 cases

Background: The practice of dermatology remains mainly outpatient, although dermatologic consultations often have a large impact on inpatient care.

Objective: To analyze the reasons for dermatologic consultation and the impact of dermatologic evaluation at a major teaching hospital.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of 243 consecutive dermatologic consultations from primary ward teams between July 2012, and August 2013.

Results: Sixty-seven percent of the dermatologic consults were requested by the internal medicine, intensive care units, and hematology/oncology departments. Common skin conditions accounted for a large majority of consultations including: infectious (24.0%), drug-related (22.3%), and inflammatory skin conditions (21.0%). Most consultations required only one visit for resolution (60.9%). The primary team submitted a correct dermatologic diagnosis in 48.9% of cases. Dermatology consultation resulted in a change in or addition to treatment in 72.4% of patients.

Limitations: Our analysis was limited by the data capture of the consulting physicians and the reliability of the patient historian.

Conclusions: Our results revealed that common dermatoses account for a majority of dermatologic consultations. Modern ward teams continue to struggle with promptly recognizing and appropriately managing common skin conditions. Further training of ward physicians on common dermatologic conditions will improve recognition and treatment of skin conditions in hospitalized patients.

Case Report

Zoledronic acid-associated symmetrical drug-related intertriginous and flexural exanthema (SDRIFE): report of baboon syndrome in a woman with recurrent metastatic breast cancer after receiving zoledronic acid

Background:  Baboon syndrome is a distinctive skin reaction in which the patient typically develops erythematous buttocks that appear similar to those of a baboon.  The non-contact allergenic variant of baboon syndrome is also referred to as symmetrical drug-related intertriginous and flexural exanthema (SDRIFE).  Zoledronic acid is a bisphosphonate that is used in patients with metastatic cancer to prevent bone complications.

Purpose:  Zoledronic acid-associated baboon syndrome is described in a woman with recurrent metastatic breast cancer.

Methods:  PubMed was used to search the following terms, separately and in combination:  baboon syndrome, breast cancer, symmetrical drug-related intertriginous and flexural exanthema, and zoledronic acid.  All papers were reviewed and relevant manuscripts, along with their reference citations, were evaluated.

Results:  Zoledronic acid has infrequently been associated with mucocutaneous adverse reactions.  However, baboon syndrome has not previously been observed in patients receiving zoledronic acid.  The reported woman developed baboon syndrome after her initial exposure to zoledronic acid.

Conclusions:  Non-contact allergenic drug-induced baboon syndrome has most commonly been associated with antibiotics such as beta-lactams and penicillins.  Zoledronic acid-associated baboon syndrome has not previously been observed in cancer patients.  Baboon syndrome (SDRIFE variant) was observed in a woman with recurrent metastatic breast cancer after her first exposure to zoledronic acid.  In summary, SDRIFE can occur in oncology patients receiving zoledronic acid and zoledronic acid should be added to the list of medications associated with the potential to cause non-contact allergenic drug-induced baboon syndrome.

Case Presentation

Subcorneal pustular dermatosis associated with Coccidioides immitis

Coccidioidomycosis (AKA “Valley fever”) is a primary pulmonary infection via airborne spores released from coccidioides immitis in the soil. Reactive cutaneous eruptions resulting from the pulmonary infection are difficult to diagnose because skin biopsies do not contain the organism. We present an adolescent male with primary pulmonary C.immitis infection manifesting with biopsy proven subcorneal pustular dermatosis. Serological studies revealed increasingly positive titers for coccidioidomycosis and symptoms resolved promptly following initiation of systemic antifungal therapy. Our unique case presentation illustrates subcorneal pustular dermatosis as a reactive eruption owing to primary pulmonary coccidioidomycosis. An association between the two conditions warrants further investigation.

Verruciform Genital-Associated (Vegas) Xanthoma: report of a patient with verruciform xanthoma of the scrotum and literature review

Background: Verruciform xanthoma is a benign verrucous lesion characterized by epithelial acanthosis and lipid-laden foamy histiocytes in the connective tissue papillae. It typically presents as a papillomatous, polypoid, or sessile lesion. Verruciform xanthoma is most commonly observed within the oral cavity. However, albeit less frequently, it develops on the penis, scrotum, or vulva.

Purpose:  We describe the clinical and pathologic findings of a man who developed a verruciform xanthoma on his scrotum. We also summarize the associated conditions, the differential diagnosis, the postulated pathogenesis, and the treatment options for this tumor.

Materials and methods:  The features of a man with a scrotal verruciform xanthoma are presented. Using PubMed, the following terms were searched and relevant citations assessed: anogenital, foam cells, penis, scrotum, verruciform, verruciform xanthoma, vulva, and xanthoma. In addition, the literature on verruciform xanthoma is reviewed.

Results:  Our patient developed an asymptomatic, exophytic, red filiform papule on his scrotum. A shave biopsy, attempting to remove the entire lesion, was performed. Based on correlation of the clinical presentation and histopathologic findings, a diagnosis of verruciform xanthoma was established. The patient applied mupirocin 2% ointment to the biopsy site, which subsequently healed without complication or recurrence.

Conclusion:  Verruciform xanthoma is a benign tumor commonly located within the oral cavity and characterized by the development of a small verrucous, papillomatous, polypoid, or sessile growth. Extraoral sites of verruciform xanthoma often include the penis, scrotum, or vulva; we introduce the term 'Vegas' (Verruciform Genital-Associated) xanthoma for these lesions. The lesions are often mistaken for viral warts or malignancies.  Although the mechanism of pathogenesis is unknown, verruciform xanthoma may have a multifactorial etiology involving inflammation, local immunosuppression, and/or metabolic dysfunction. It has also been postulated that verruciform xanthoma is a secondary reaction to trauma-induced epithelial damage or degeneration. A biopsy for histopathologic examination is required to diagnose verruciform xanthoma. The treatment of verruciform xanthoma typically involves simple surgical excision.

Vesicular erythema migrans: an atypical and easily misdiagnosed form of Lyme disease

Erythema migrans is the initial sign in the majority of patients infected with Borrelia, the genus of spirochetes that causes Lyme disease. Early identification and treatment decrease the risk of progression to later stages of disease. Although a "bull's eye" appearance owing to lesional clearing is considered classic for erythema migrans, this feature is surprisingly often lacking among patients in the United States. Furthermore, cutaneous Lyme disease can exhibit a wide range of morphologic variability in a minority of patients. Herein, we describe the case of a patient with Lyme disease in which the presence of atypical vesicular features, in conjunction with the initial absence of clearing, resulted in multiple misdiagnoses and delayed treatment. We also review the literature on the epidemiology and management of erythema migrans for cases in which the diagnosis may pose a challenge.

Mycophenolate mofetil therapy for pediatric bullous pemphigoid

Bullous pemphigoid (BP) is a common autoimmune blistering disease in the adult population, but extremely rare in the pediatric population. Childhood BP usually has a favorable prognosis and responds well to topical and oral steroids. However, for patients that do not respond to corticosteroids, therapeutic alternatives are scarce. We report a case of a toddler with recalcitrant BP who was successfully treated with mycophenolate mofetil (MMF).

Pitted keratolysis: successful management with mupirocin 2% ointment monotherapy

Background: Pitted keratolysis is a benign dermatosis that occurs on plantar skin.

Purpose: We describe a man with pitted keratolysis that was successfully treated with mupirocin 2% ointment monotherapy.

Methods and Materials: We reviewed PubMed for the following terms: mupirocin, ointment, pitted keratolysis, treatment. We also reviewed papers containing these terms and their references.

Results: Complete resolution of pitted keratolysis occurred following monotherapy with twice daily application of mupirocin 2% ointment for a duration of three weeks. There was no recurrence at a follow-up visit eight weeks later.

Conclusions: Several topical and oral treatments are available to successfully manage pitted keratolysis. Our patient confirms previous reports of pitted keratolysis resolving with mupirocin 2% ointment treatment. Monotherapy with mupirocin 2% ointment should be considered as a primary treatment alternative for pitted keratolysis.

A case report of primary cutaneous marginal zone lymphoma treated with intralesional steroids

Importance: Primary cutaneous marginal zone lymphoma (PCMZL) is a low-grade malignant B-cell lymphoma that appears in the skin without any extracutaneous manifestations. Therapeutic mainstays for PCMZL have primarily included radiotherapy and surgery. Intralesional steroids have been found to resolve the lesions caused by PCMZL, but there is a dearth of literature regarding this therapy indicating that this is not a commonly favored treatment option.

Observations: We present a case of 60-year-old woman who presented with PCMZL on her right eyebrow. Three years later, after two courses of radiation and one relapse, the patient presented with new lesions on both arms, consistent once again with PCMZL. At this time, therapy with nine rounds of intralesional triamcinolone was attempted. After each round of triamcinolone, gradual improvement of the lesions was noted until complete resolution occurred.

Conclusions and Relevance: This case reminds practitioners that intralesional corticosteroids can be effectively and safely used to treat localized PCMZL. Intralesional steroids are less invasive, cheaper, and easier to administer than the majority of other recommended therapies for PCMZL. Thus, although they are often overlooked, intralesional corticosteroids should be more often considered when developing a treatment plan for localized PCMZL.

Atypical propylthiouracil-induced ANCA-positive vasculitis: report of a case with unusual clinical and histopathologic findings

The side effects of propylthiouracil, including cytopenia and vasculitis, are well established.  We present an interesting case in which cytopenia and cutaneous vasculopathy occurred concomitantly in a critically ill patient.  The patient was initially treated for suspected infection until dermatologic and rheumatologic workup revealed ANCA-positivity and vasculopathy on histopathology, most consistent with an atypical presentation of ANCA-positive vasculitis.  Upon initiation of immunosuppressive therapy, the patient’s condition rapidly improved emphasizing the importance of early recognition of this condition.

Leukemia cutis with lymphoglandular bodies: a clue to acute lymphoblastic leukemia cutis

Leukemia cutis describes cutaneous lesions produced by infiltrates of leukemic cells. It usually manifests contemporaneously with the initial diagnosis of systemic leukemia, but may also precede or follow systemic leukemia. Most cases are associated with acute myeloid leukemia. Adult B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia cutis is very rare. We report a 59-year-old woman with a history of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia who relapsed with aleukemic lymphoblastic leukemia cutis. Lymphoglandular bodies were conspicuous on biopsy and may serve as a morphologic clue to lymphocytic differentiation while molecular and immunophenotypic studies are pending. The patient was successfully treated with local radiation therapy and oral ponatinib.


Primary care providers' perceptions of mobile store-and-forward teledermatology

Introduction: Although teledermatology offers promise as a tool to increase access to care, adoption has been limited. Understanding the perspectives and experiences of key stakeholders, such as primary care providers (PCPs) and patients, is important to identify opportunities to reduce barriers to adoption and to improve teledermatology programs. Although many studies have examined patients’ experiences and satisfaction with teledermatology, few have examined referring PCPs’ perspectives.

Objective: To identify PCPs’ perceptions on the strengths and limitations of teledermatology in order to identify opportunities to improve teledermatology programs.

Methods: We distributed an anonymous, web-based survey to 30 PCPs involved in a two-year study evaluating a mobile app-based teledermatology platform.

Results: 100% (18/18) agreed or strongly agreed that teledermatology increases access to dermatologic care, improves patient care, and is acceptable to patients. 100% (18/18) agreed or strongly agreed that teledermatology provides educational benefit to the PCP. Only 6% (1/18) agreed that teledermatology increases medical liability and 11% (2/18) agreed that it increases risk of a breach in privacy or confidentiality.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight that PCPs are highly satisfied with mobile app-based, store-and-forward teledermatology and that they believe teledermatology offers synergistic educational benefit. We hope these results will help guide the development of teledermatology programs to increase access to timely, cost-effective care.

Photo Vignette

A rare case of trigeminal trophic syndrome with an extensive scalp, forehead, and upper eyelid ulceration in a patient with undiagnosed Alzheimer disease

Background: Trigeminal Trophic Syndrome (TTS) is a rare presentation of facial ulceration, which is characterized by the triad of anesthesia, paraesthesia, and damage of trigeminal sensory branches.

Main observations: We report a unique case of TTS as an extensive forehead and scalp ulceration in a patient with undiagnosed Alzheimer disease.

Conclusions: Treatment options for trigeminal trophic syndrome are limited and disappointing especially in older patients with dementia. Family education and behavioral modification therapies may be well tolerated option in this population.


A case report of crusted scabies in an adult patient with Down syndrome

Importance: Crusted (Norwegian) scabies is a severe manifestation of the contagious skin infection caused by Sarcoptes scabiei. Crusted scabies has been well described in patients with known immunocompromised states. Treatment may be complicated by delayed diagnosis and/or inadequate treatment. This infection may not rank highly on one’s differential diagnosis in the absence of an immunocompromised state, highlighting the uniqueness of the case being presented. Several papers describe immunocompromised children with Down syndrome who are infected with crusted scabies. We present a case of infection in an adult with Down syndrome without evidence of an immunocompromised state.

Observations: Our patient came to us with a 13-month history of progressively worsening symptoms, the last 4-6 weeks of that time period being most dramatic, despite various treatments. We performed tissue biopsy, culture, and laboratory evaluations, which revealed numerous mites and bacterial superinfection.

Conclusions and Relevance: Crusted scabies infection may occur in adult age individuals with Down syndrome regardless of immune status, leading us to encourage practitioners to consider this condition when presented with patients of this population. We also highlight the need for further exploration of disease prevalence in this patient population.

Successful treatment of palmoplantar pustulosis with isotretinoin

Importance: Variably considered as a localized subtype of pustular psoriasis, palmoplantar pustulosis (PPP) is commonly treated with topical steroids, acitretin, and local phototherapy with oral or topical psoralen (PUVA). The utility of acitretin for PPP is limited by adverse effects such as myalgias and an extended risk of teratogenicity in female patients. Isotretinoin is a more tolerable retinoid with a shorter teratogenic window, but to date its effectiveness in PPP has not been reported. Herein we present two patients with PPP who responded well to isotretinoin treatment.

Observations: Two patients with PPP refractory to topical therapies were started on acitretin. Both patients developed adverse effects (including headache, myalgias, and mood alterations) leading to acitretin discontinuation. Isotretinoin monotherapy was started in one patient resulting in significant clearing of palmar plaques and scale, and the addition of isotretinoin to UVA therapy resulted in near-complete clearing of recalcitrant plantar plaques in the second patient.

Conclusions and Relevance: Acitretin represents an important treatment for PPP, but is limited by adverse effects and extended teratogenicity. Our experience supports the utility of isotretinoin as a potential therapeutic alternative, which may be particularly beneficial in patients who are poor candidates for or unable to tolerate acitretin therapy.

Acne isolated within a Becker nevus of a 14 year-old girl

Becker nevus (BN) is a common benign condition occurring most often in young men, much more often than in women. Acne isolated within a BN is a rare phenomenon hypothesized to occur, at least in part, due to increased androgen sensitivity within the nevus. We present a rare case of papular acne with in a BN of a 14 year-old girl.

Nicolau syndrome following intramuscular injection of oxytocin in pregnant women: report of two cases

Nicolau syndrome, also known as embolia cutis medicamentosa, is a well known but very rare complication occuring after intramuscular drug injections and presenting with local intense pain. Immediately after injection the skin blanches and within minutes to hours an erythematous macule develops, which evolves into a livedoid violaceous patch with dendrites. This condition is initially hemorrhagic, then it ulcerates, and eventually heals with an atrophic scar. Many different drugs have been reported to cause Nicolau syndrome . To date there have been no reports of Nicolau syndrome caused by intramuscular oxytocin injection. We would like to report two cases that occured after intramuscular injection of oxytocin.

Flagellate shiitake mushroom dermatitis

An 84-year-old woman presented with 5 days of a pruritic skin eruption that formed arciform and linear patterns. She was diagnosed with flagellate shiitake mushroom dermatitis related to shiitake mushroom consumption the day prior symptom onset.

Isolation of Leclercia adecarboxylata from a patient with a subungual splinter

Leclercia adecarboxylata is a rarely described motile, aerobic, gram-negative bacillus reported to cause clinically significant solitary infections in immunocompromised patients and polymicrobial wound infections in immunocompetent patients [1-5]. We present a case of a polymicrobial infection including L. adecarboxylata in a healthy female patient with a subungual splinter, to increase awareness and aid in the diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous L. adecarboxylata infections. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of trauma-related subungual L. adecarboxylata infection reported in the dermatology literature.