Panniculitis can develop in people with certain infections, injuries, and autoimmune disorders.
Typical symptoms include tender, red bumps under the skin.
The diagnosis is based on the person's symptoms and often a biopsy.
There is no specific treatment, but doctors may give drugs to relieve symptoms.
(See also Overview of Hypersensitivity and Reactive Skin Disorders Overview of Hypersensitivity and Reactive Skin Disorders The immune system plays a vital role in maintaining the health of all the tissues of the body. The immune system reacts to invaders, such as microorganisms, foreign substances, or cancer cells... read more .)
The cause of panniculitis is not known, but it can develop in people with infections, exposure to cold temperature, injury, systemic lupus erythematosus Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory connective tissue disorder that can involve joints, kidneys, skin, mucous membranes, and blood vessel walls. Problems in the... read more , disorders of the pancreas, inflammatory disorders (such as inflammatory bowel disease and polyarteritis nodosa), and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a hereditary disorder in which a lack or low level of the enzyme alpha-1 antitrypsin damages the lungs and liver. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is caused by... read more . Erythema nodosum Erythema Nodosum Erythema nodosum is a form of panniculitis (inflammation of the fat layer beneath the skin) that produces tender red or violet bumps (nodules) under the skin, most often over the shins but occasionally... read more is a type of panniculitis.
Symptoms of Panniculitis
Panniculitis is characterized by tender, red skin bumps (nodules) that originate deep in the layer of fat beneath the skin (the subcutaneous layer). They tend to be large, measuring several centimeters in diameter. The bumps are most common on the legs and arms and occur less often on the buttocks, trunk, and face.
People may have symptoms of general bodywide inflammation such as fever, joint and muscle pain, and feeling ill.
Diagnosis of Panniculitis
A doctor's evaluation
Often skin biopsy
Doctors base the diagnosis on the results of a physical examination.
The diagnosis of panniculitis is sometimes confirmed when doctors remove a bump or a small piece of one and then analyze it with a microscope (biopsy Biopsy Doctors can identify many skin disorders simply by looking at the skin. A full skin examination includes examination of the scalp, nails, and mucous membranes. Sometimes the doctor uses a hand-held... read more ).
Treatment of Panniculitis
There is no specific treatment for panniculitis.
Doctors may give nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and inflammation. Other drugs that may help include drugs that are used for malaria; dapsone; or thalidomide.
Corticosteroids and other drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants) or chemotherapy drugs may be given to people whose symptoms are getting worse.
Any causes are also treated.