Pigmented fungiform lingual papillae: dermoscopic and clinical features

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2018 Jun;32(6):935-939. doi: 10.1111/jdv.14809. Epub 2018 Feb 19.


The tongue is covered by fungiform, filiform and circumvallate papillae. Fungiform papillae may be mainly pigmented in dark-skinned individuals. A single-centre study aimed to examine the clinical and dermoscopic features of pigmented fungiform papulae of the tongue (PFPT) in children, and a concise review of the literature has been performed. The clinical and anamnestic data of eight children affected by PFPT visited at the Pediatric Dermatology Unit of Bologna between 2010 and 2017, and a systemic review of all studies of PFPT published on PubMed up to 31 August 2017 has been collected and analysed. The results of our data were consistent with the literature review: dark brown to black coloured pinhead papules or bumps were observed in all cases of PFPT, and three types of clinical patterns have been detected. Moreover, the dermoscopic examination showed a cobblestone-like distribution and rose petal pattern. PFPT could be associated with hyperpigmentation of other sites such as the proximal nail folds and gums, and an intrafamiliar transmission is also possible. Clinical and dermoscopic features of PFPT may help clinicians to recognize this ethnic, acquired and benign condition.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Taste Buds / pathology*
  • Tongue / pathology*