Background Idiopathic facial aseptic granuloma (IFAG) was recently described in a single-centre retrospective study as a skin condition that occurs specifically in childhood.
Objectives To improve our epidemiological, clinical and pathological knowledge on IFAG, to search for an infectious aetiology, and to assess therapeutic recommendations.
Methods Children presenting with one or several acquired nodules on the face, lasting for at least 1 month, with no evidence of any other recognizable clinical entity such as infantile acne, pilomatrixoma, furuncle, tumour or vascular malformation, were enrolled in a prospective multicentre study from June 2001 to June 2004, involving the main French paediatric dermatology outpatient units. We recorded clinical details about the nodule and its duration, ultrasound study pattern, cultures for bacteria and mycobacteria, and Bartonella henselae and Afipia felis antibody testing.
Results Thirty children (17 boys and 13 girls, mean age 3·8 years) were enrolled. Ultrasound studies revealed a solid well-demarcated hypoechoic lesion without calcium deposit. Cultures for bacteria were negative in 70% of cases. Cultures for mycobacteria and cat scratch disease serologies were negative. Antibiotic therapy was ineffective; the lesion healed spontaneously with a mean duration of 11 months. Histological examination, performed in five cases, showed a chronic dermal lymphohistiocytic granuloma with numerous foreign body-type giant cells.
Conclusions IFAG is characterized by a painless facial nodule, presenting as a single lesion localized on the cheek, with a prolonged course but spontaneous healing. Oral or local antibiotics are usually ineffective. Regarding the pathophysiology, our study rules out a primary infectious disease, and allows considering IFAG either as a granulomatous process appearing around an embryological residue or as a manifestation to include in the spectrum of granulomatous rosacea in childhood.