Home   Chapter Home   Jobs   Conferences   Fellowships   Books


Skin-nontumor / Clinical Dermatology

Other dermatoses

Pancreatic fat necrosis

Reviewer: Mowafak Hamodat, MB.CH.B, MSc., FRCPC, Eastern Health, St. Johns, Canada (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 1 August 2011, last major update August 2011
Copyright: (c) 2002-2011, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Due to acute pancreatitis or pancreatic carcinoma
● Lesions may be widespread, may drain chalky material
● Associated with elevated serum amylase and lipase


● Males are affected more than females

Clinical description

● Tender violaceous and erythematosus nodules, usually in trunk, buttocks and lower extremities
● Also joint involvement, pleural effusion, ascitis and pericardial effusion
● Peripheral blood eosinophilia is quite common

Micro description

● Changes are lobular in distribution and characterized by ghost cells, which are anucleate cells composed of amorphous granular debris and a rim of eosinophilia; also stippled basophilia due to calcification
● Usually neutrophils around foci of fat necrosis and hemorrhage
● Uninvolved surrounding fat is heavily infiltrated by acute and chronic inflammatory cells including large numbers of macrophages, many with foamy cytoplasm due to ingested lipid, and occasional multinucleated giant cells
● No evidence of vasculitis
● Birefringent crystals have been described in the mesenteric fat and within affected joints, but not in subcutaneous fat

Micro images

Contributed by Dr. Angel Fernandez-Flores, M.D., PhD, Hospital El Bierzo and Clinica Ponferrada, Spain

End of Skin-nontumor / Clinical Dermatology > Other dermatoses > Pancreatic fat necrosis

This information is intended for physicians and related personnel, who understand that medical information is often imperfect, and must be interpreted in the context of a patient's clinical data using reasonable medical judgment. This website should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a licensed physician.

All information on this website is protected by copyright of PathologyOutlines.com, Inc. Information from third parties may also be protected by copyright. Please contact us at [email protected] with any questions (click here for other contact information).