Custom Search



Pathology of Pancreatic


Dr Sampurna Roy MD            


Dermatopathology Quiz Case 124

Diagnosis: Pancreatic Panniculitis





Pancreatic panniculitis is a rare entity appearing in approximately 2-3 percent of all patients with pancreatic disease.

This is a rare cutaneous manifestation in patients with underlying pancreatic disease.

It is mostly associated with acute or chronic pancreatitis or, less commonly, pancreatic carcinoma, frequently of acinar cell type.

Less frequent associations include pseudocyst, vasculopancreatic fistulas and pancreas divisum.

Pancreatic panniculitis clinically present as painful or asymptomatic subcutaneous nodules or indurated plaques.

These are usually located on the thighs, buttocks, lower trunk or distal parts of the lower extremities.

Involvement of areas such as breasts, and abdomen are described.

There may also be polyserositis, arthritis, eosinophilia or rarely a leukemoid reaction.

Panniculitis has also been reported in association with an islet cell carcinoma.

Lesions probably result from the local action of blood-borne pancreatic lipase and trypsin, although other factors may also be involved.

Cases have been reported without pancreatic disease, but with circulating lipase or amylase of unknown origin.


Histopathology Image of Pancreatic Panniculitis   

Visit: Path Case 124

Sections of established lesions show a lobular panniculitis involving much of the fat of the affected lobule.  

Sometimes, contiguous lobules show a different stage in the histological evolution of the process. 

Early lesions show enzymatic fat necrosis, with the ghost-like outline of fat cells remaining.   

It has been suggested on the basis of one case, that at an even earlier stage (there is a septal panniculitis).

Liquefaction with breakdown of fat cells will eventually occur.

At the margins of the necrotic fat there is a variable neutrophil infiltrate, usually mild, associated with nuclear dusting, fine basophilic calcium deposits and some hemorrhage.

The necrotic fat cells may also have a pale basophilic hue due to the deposition of calcium salt.

In older lesions there are giant cells, lipophages, lymphocytes, hemosiderin and other blood pigment, and eventual fibrosis.

There may be some extension of the inflammatory process into the underlying dermis.


The treatment of pancreatic panniculitis is directed at the underlying pancreatic disease.

Usually those cases associated with pancreatitis slowly undergo resolution once the inflammatory episode of the pancreas regresses.

When there is involvement of subcutaneous fat other than the lower extremities, persistent disease, frequent relapses, or ulceration, the possibility of an occult underlying carcinoma of the pancreas should be considered.

Further reading:

Fatal pancreatic panniculitis associated with acute pancreatitis: a case report.

Pancreatic panniculitis secondary to acinar cell carcinoma of the pancreas.

The role of skin biopsy in diagnosis of panniculitides.

Pancreatic panniculitis.

Pancreatic panniculitis in an 81 year-old patient

Panniculitides, an algorithmic approach.

Pancreatic panniculitis following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.

Histopathology of panniculitis - aspects of biopsy techniques and difficulties in diagnosis.

Pancreatic panniculitis associated with acinar cell carcinoma of the pancreas: a case report.

Panniculitis. Part II. Mostly lobular panniculitis.

Pancreatic panniculitis: A rare form of panniculitis.

Pancreatic panniculitis.

Cutaneous and mucous mucormycosis mimicking pancreatic panniculitis and gouty panniculitis.

Pancreatic panniculitis: a cutaneous presentation as an initial clue to the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.





Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)







Infectious Disease Online


Pathology Quiz Online 


Paediatric Pathology Online


Pancreatic Pathology Online




Endocrine Pathology Online


Eye Pathology Online


Ear Pathology Online


Cardiac Path Online


Pulmonary Pathology Online


Lung Tumour Online




Nutritional Pathology Online


Environmental Pathology Online


Soft Tissue Tumour Online


GI Path Online-India


Gallbladder Pathology Online


E-book - History of Medicine  


Microscope - Seeing the Unseen





Privacy Policy  

Advertising Policy

Copyright 2019