(See also Erythema Nodosum.)
Panniculitis can be classified as lobular or septal depending on the principal site of the inflammation within the fat.
There are multiple causes of panniculitis, including
Panniculitis is characterized by tender and erythematous subcutaneous nodules located over the extremities and sometimes over the posterior thorax, abdominal area, breasts, face, or buttocks. Rarely, nodules can involve the mesentery, lungs, scrotum, and cranium. Signs of systemic inflammation can accompany panniculitis.
Any underlying causes of panniculitis are treated. There is no specific definitive treatment for panniculitis. Several strategies have been used with modest results, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antimalarials, dapsone, and thalidomide.
Corticosteroids (1 to 2 mg/kg orally or IV once a day) and other immunosuppressive or chemotherapeutic drugs have been used to treat patients with progressive symptoms or signs of systemic involvement.
Causes of panniculitis can vary widely.
Diagnose panniculitis by clinical evaluation (including presence of tender, red, subcutaneous nodules) and confirm with excisional or incisional biopsy.
Treat panniculitis supportively and consider anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive drug therapy, particularly if manifestations are severe.