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Necrobiosis lipoidica is a necrotising skin condition that usually occurs in patients with diabetes mellitus but can also be associated with rheumatoid arthritis. In the former case it may be called necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum (NLD). NLD occurs in approximately 0.3% of the diabetic population, with the majority of sufferers being women (approximately 3:1 females to males affected).

The severity or control of diabetes in an individual does not affect who will or will not get NLD. Better maintenance of diabetes after being diagnosed with NLD will not change how quickly the NLD will resolve.

Signs and Symptoms:

NLD appears as a hardened, raised area of the skin. The center of the affected area usually has a yellowish tint while the area surrounding it is a dark pink. It is possible for the affected area to spread or turn into an open sore. When this happens the patient is at greater risk of developing ulcers. If an injury to the skin occurs on the affected area, it may not heal properly or it will leave a dark scar.


Although the exact cause of this condition is not known, it is an inflammatory disorder characterised by collagen degeneration, combined with a granulomatous response. It always involves the dermis diffusely, and sometimes also involves the deeper fat layer. Commonly, dermal blood vessels are thickened (microangiopathy).

It can be precipitated by local trauma, though it often occurs without any injury.


There is no clearly defined cure for necrobiosis. NLD may be treated with PUVA therapy and improved therapeutic control.[medical citation needed]

Although there are some techniques that can be used to diminish the signs of necrobiosis such as low dose aspirin orally, a steroid cream or injection into the affected area, this process may be effective for only a small percentage of those treated.

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For more information on this topic please click on the links below

Link to British Association of Dermatologists article on dermatology from DermUK
Link to DermNet NZ article on dermatology from DermUK
Link to Medscape dermatology article from DermUK

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