Skin nontumor
Dermal collagen and elastic tissue alterations, and cutaneous deposits

Topic Completed: 1 August 2011

Minor changes: 5 August 2020

Copyright: 2002-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Myxedema [title] skin

Mowafak Hamodat, M.B.Ch.B., M.Sc.
Page views in 2019: 1,199
Page views in 2020 to date: 917
Cite this page: Hamodat M. Myxedema. website. Accessed October 24th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Thick, dry, and waxy skin due to accumulation of mucopolysaccharides in dermis; similar to that in orbital tissues, caused by excess TSH secretion or hypothyroidism
  • Often in pretibial skin
  • Localized or generalized
  • Elephantiasis: extreme disease
Clinical features
  • Pink, yellow and waxy plaques and nodules on the anterolateral aspect of leg
  • Indurations with prominence of follicles giving rise to peau d’orange appearance and secondary hypertrichosis is occasionally marked
  • Asymptomatic or mildly pruritic
Case reports
  • Self limiting
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Epidermis is hyperkeratotic with follicular plugging and may be papillomatous and acanthotic
  • Dermis shows separation of collagen bundles by large quantities of mucin
  • Satellite fibroblasts are evident, but no increase in numbers except in elephantiasis form
Positive stains
Negative stains
  • Direct immunofluorescence is usually negative, although granular deposits of IgM have been identified
Additional references
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