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Calcinosis cutis: Etiology and patient evaluation

Kristen H Fernandez, MD
Dana S Ward, MD
Section Editor
Jeffrey Callen, MD, FACP, FAAD
Deputy Editor
Abena O Ofori, MD


Calcinosis cutis is a descriptive term for the deposition of insoluble calcium salts in the cutaneous and subcutaneous tissue. Based upon the etiology of calcium deposition, there are five subtypes of calcinosis cutis: dystrophic, metastatic, idiopathic, iatrogenic, and calciphylaxis (table 1).

Dystrophic calcinosis cutis: Dystrophic calcinosis cutis results from local tissue damage. Systemic calcium metabolism is normal.

Metastatic calcinosis cutis: Metastatic calcinosis cutis results from abnormal calcium or phosphate metabolism, leading to the precipitation of calcium in skin and subcutaneous tissue.

Idiopathic calcinosis cutis: Idiopathic calcinosis cutis is the occurrence of calcinosis cutis without any underlying tissue damage or metabolic disorder.

Iatrogenic calcinosis cutis: Iatrogenic calcinosis cutis is the deposition of calcium salts in the skin as a side effect of medical intervention for other disease processes.


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: May 26, 2015.
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