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On the Treatment of Segmental Pigmentary Disorders in Children



A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology in June 2010 found that most children with localized segmental pigmentary disorders are not likely to have other underlying systemic abnormalities.  In the study in which 45 children were screened, very few associations with localized pigmentary changes and neurological or skeletal anomalies were found. 


Findings from this research should help alleviate parental fear and save doctors from running unneeded, large-scale work-ups on children.  


In pediatric treatment of localized segmental pigmentary disorders, the study suggests further tests should be run when the following is noted:


  • Appearance of widespread patterned pigmentation
    • Pay special attention to streaky, thin, Blaschkoid pigmentation.  Thin hypopigmented lines show high risk for hypomelanosis of Ito (HI).
    • Thorough examination should be run as well as a detailed analysis of anomalies present in family history
    • Genetic evaluation and karyotype testing should be performed


  • Pigmentation abnormality is present in infancy
    • Run baseline neural examination to assess potential motor defects
    • Perform baseline eye exam


The Next Step


In years to come, there is a hope that more extensive research will be performed on children who have hypomelanosis of Ito (HI).  Finding the genetic link between HI and neurology or seizures can help doctors develop specific tests in order to quickly target children who might need in-depth work-ups.


Until then, it is recommended for dermatologists to understand healthy development in their patients and to keep current SegPD research in mind.  This way, when localized pigmentary anomalies appear, it can be reassured that the majority of these patients are otherwise healthy.


Source: Modern Medicine

[Image by Ibrahim Iujaz]

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