Newborn Nursery at LPCH

Subcutaneous Fat Necrosis

photo by Janelle Aby, MD

This red lesion is subcutaneous fat necrosis. On palpation, there is a firm nodule in the subcutaneous tissue under the area of redness that is freely mobile with respect to the bony structures underneath it. Subcutaneous fat necrosis is more common in infants who have had difficult deliveries, cold stress, or perinatal asphyxia. Lesions are typically asymptomatic and resolve spontaneously within several weeks, usually without scarring or atropy. Infants with extensive lesions or with renal disease should have calcium levels followed once or twice weekly. Hypercalcemia associated with subcutaneous fat necrosis is rare, but is a potentially lethal complication.

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