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Extensive Subcutaneous Fat Necrosis of the Newborn Associated with Therapeutic Hypothermia


Address correspondence to Marcia Hogeling, M.D., Sydney Children's Hospital, 4th floor, High Street, Randwick, 2031, NSW, Australia, or e-mail:


Abstract:  Subcutaneous fat necrosis of the newborn is a form of panniculitis that most often occurs in full-term infants with predisposing risk factors. Three neonates with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy were treated with therapeutic hypothermia and developed extensive subcutaneous fat necrosis. All three infants developed extensive subcutaneous fat necrosis, involving the back, scalp, and arms. Mild, asymptomatic hypercalcemia was noted in one infant in the weeks following the subcutaneous fat necrosis. Hypothermia as a risk factor for subcutaneous fat necrosis is reviewed. Clinicians should be aware of subcutaneous fat necrosis as a possible risk factor and complication associated with asphyxiated newborns who may undergo therapeutic hypothermia. Future studies for therapeutic hypothermia should evaluate neonates for the development of subcutaneous fat necrosis.