Lichtenberg figures

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1996 Jun;17(2):99-102. doi: 10.1097/00000433-199606000-00002.


The majority of cutaneous injuries seen in victims struck by lightning are superficial and heal without sequelae. Common cutaneous findings associated with lightning strike include punctate full-thickness burns, linear charring, and contact burns from overlying metal objects. Branching or ferning marks are an uncommon and unusual cutaneous manifestation. These ferning patterns are called Lichtenberg figures. Similar-appearing electrical phenomena were first noted by an 18th-century physicist of the same name. A case report with review of the literature is presented. The histopathologic features of the figures are described for the first time.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Lightning Injuries / pathology*
  • Male
  • Skin / injuries*
  • Skin / pathology*