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Familial anetoderma


Jean E. Thomas, md, Pinkus Dermatopathology Laboratory, PC, 1314 North Macomb Street, Monroe, MI 48162, USA. E-mail:


A 31-year-old Caucasian male presented with a history of erythematous, saccular outpouchings of the skin on his back, shoulders, and upper extremities (Fig. 1). The patient reported that his mother and aunt had a similar skin disorder, which initially began with inflammation, but healed leaving lax skin in its wake. He did not recall the name of the skin condition.

Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Extensive outpouching of the skin involving the entire back and upper arms

Physical examination revealed large confluent zones of sac-like protrusions of erythematous skin on the back and shoulders. Histopathologic examination of the excisional biopsy revealed a relatively unremarkable epidermis. Perivascular lymphocytes were present in small numbers in the papillary dermis. Adnexal structures and deep dermis remained intact. The acid-orcein-Giemsa stain highlighted the absence of elastic fibers within the mid and lower reticular dermis (Fig. 2a,b), consistent with anetoderma.

Figure 2.

Figure 2.

(a,b) Dermis shows extensive loss of elastic fibers with only rare, fragmented elastic fibers present (acid Orsein-giemsa stain. Magnification: (a)×90, (b) ×240