Inflammatory linear verrucous epidermal naevus

Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2003.

What is an  inflammatory linear verrucous epidermal naevus?

An inflammatory linear verrucous epidermal naevus (ILVEN) is a special kind of epidermal naevus. Epidermal naevi are birthmarks due to an overgrowth of the epidermis (upper layers of the skin).

The abnormality arises from a defect in the ectoderm. This is the outer layer of the embryo that gives rise to epidermis and neural tissue. The defect causing the skin lesions may also result in disorders of other internal organs such as the brain, eyes and skeleton. This is extremely rare with ILVEN.

Features of ILVEN

Like other linear epidermal naevi, ILVEN is characterised by warty lesions that tend to group together in a linear pattern. The difference is that the lesions are red, inflamed and itchy, sometimes intensely so. The surface of the lesions may look like eczema (dry, red, scratched) or like psoriasis (red and scaly).

ILVEN most often affects one leg and may extend from the buttock to the foot. It may be present at birth, but usually arises during the first 5 years of life and spreads over months or years. It is somewhat more common in females.

Treatment of ILVEN

No curative treatment is available for ILVEN. Emollients and low potency topical steroids can relieve the itching. Emollients or topical calcipotriol may relieve the dryness.

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