Sometimes, we come across people who have thickened skin in their hands or feet. If you touch it, it feels like you are touching a block of wood. The person may also have an odd color to the skin like a dark brownish tinge to it. This is caused by a medical disease called Panniculitis. In this article, we will go in depth about the causes and symptoms along with treatment of panniculitis.
How Do We Define Panniculitis?
Panniculitis is the result of a group of medical disorders involving inflammation of fat beneath the skin. Even though, Panniculitis is caused due to a variety of reasons, the clinical presentation of most forms of panniculitis is the same. A confirmatory diagnosis is made by doing a skin biopsy since there are specific microscopic features which depend on the cause of the disease.
Classification Of Panniculitis
Panniculitis in general is of two types, Septal Panniculitis or Lobular Panniculitis. The classification of the type is dependent on the concentration of the inflammation. Further classification of panniculitis depends on whether there is inflammation of blood vessels of fat or in other words if there is vasculitis.
Symptoms Of Panniculitis
Some of the symptoms of Panniculitis are the skin around the involved area gets thick and feels woody to palpation. There may also presence of brownish discoloration. There is also presence of tenderness. Generally, there are nodules and lumps around the affected area beneath the skin. As the inflammation settles down, it may leave behind a skin depression which may be temporary or permanent.
Diagnosis Of Panniculitis
Panniculitis is usually diagnosed by identifying the clinical presentation. A skin biopsy is also done to confirm the diagnosis. A microbiological culture is also done.
Treatment For Panniculitis
Some of the Treatments of Panniculitis are:
- Treating the underlying cause like if a medication is causing the disease then that medication needs to be stopped, or in case of some infection causing panniculitis then treating that infection.
- Adequate rest and elevate the affected region
- Compression hosiery, if tolerated
- Use of NSAIDs for pain relief
- Use of steroids to help calm the inflammation down
- Medications like tetracycline or hydroxychloroquine can also be used
- In some cases, surgical removal of ulcerated lesions.