Atrophie blanche

Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2004. Updated by Dr Ebtisam Elghblawi, Dermatologist, Tripoli, Libya, and DermNet NZ Editor in Chief, A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, November 2017. 

What is atrophie blanche?

Atrophie blanche (white atrophy) is the name given to a particular type of angular scar arising on the lower leg or foot. It occurs after a skin injury, when the blood supply is poor and healing is delayed.

What causes atrophie blanche?  

Atrophie blanche most often occurs in middle-aged women. It is most often associated with venous insufficiency. It is the hallmark of livedoid vasculopathy, and may also follow ulceration due to:

Atrophie blanche is due to occlusion of small blood vessels in the middle and deep dermis, which prevents normal healing. Blood vessel occlusion may be due to:

What are the clinical features of atrophie blanche?

Atrophie blanche is characterised by:

What is the treatment of atrophie blanche?

Treatment is directed to the underlying disease process that leads to atrophie blanche.  For example, in livedoid vasculopathy, drugs are used that halt platelet aggregation and stimulate fibrinolysis.

Compression therapy may speed up healing of wounds on the lower leg, particularly in venous disease,  and thus reduce the severity of atrophie blanche scar formation.

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