Skin nontumor

Pigmentary disorders


Last author update: 1 July 2011
Last staff update: 28 August 2020

Copyright: 2002-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Argyria

Cecilia Rosales, M.D.
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Cite this page: Rosales C. Argyria. website. Accessed September 22nd, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Permanent discoloration of skin due to dietary, medicinal or industrial exposure to silver compounds
  • Silver deposition in skin and mucous membranes, liver, spleen, adrenal, muscle and brain
  • Silver deposits cause pigmentation of basement membranes of adnexal structures
Clinical features
  • Initially present in gingiva as slate blue line due to metallic silver and silver sulfide
  • Cutaneous manifestations follow a sun-exposed distribution
  • Nails can also be involved
  • Laser treatment may be useful (Int J Dermatol 2011;50:751)
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Various images

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Silver granules in vascular and adnexal basement membranes and adjacent to dermal elastic fibers
  • Granules are brown-black
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Tiny, gray-brown-black granules in dermis and concentrated near eccrine glands

Electron microscopy description
  • Membrane bound granules within macrophages, lysosomes or free within dermis
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