A clinical study of 125 patients with phrynoderma

Indian J Dermatol. 2011 Jul;56(4):389-92. doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.84760.


Background: Phrynoderma is a type of follicular hyperkeratosis. Various nutritional deficiency disorders have been implicated in the etiology of phrynoderma.

Aim: To determine clinical features of phrynoderma and its association with nutritional deficiency signs.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study of 125 consecutive patients with phrynoderma attending the outpatient department (OPD) of dermatology was conducted in a tertiary care hospital. In all patients, a detailed history was taken and cutaneous examination findings such as distribution, sites of involvement, morphology of the lesions, and signs of nutritional deficiencies were noted.

Results: The proportion of patients with phrynoderma attending the OPD was 0.51%. There were 79 males and 46 females. Age of the patients was in the range of 3-26 years with a mean of 10 ± 4.3 years. The lesions were asymptomatic in 114 (91.2%) patients. The distribution of lesions was bilateral and symmetrical in 89 (71.2%) patients. The disease was localized (elbows, knees, extensor extremities, and/or buttocks) in 106 (84.8%) patients. The site of onset was elbows in 106 (84.8%) patients. The lesions were discrete, keratotic, follicular, pigmented or skin colored, acuminate papules in all patients. Signs of vitamin A and vitamin B-complex deficiency were present in 3.2% and 9.6% patients, respectively. Epidermal hyperkeratosis, follicular hyperkeratosis, and follicular plugging were present in the entire biopsy specimen.

Conclusion: Phrynoderma is a disorder with distinctive clinical features and can be considered as a multifactorial disease involving multiple nutrients, local factors like pressure and friction, and environmental factors in the setting of increased nutritional demand.

Keywords: Follicular hyperkeratosis; nutritional deficiency; phrynoderma.