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Calcinosis cutis: Management

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


The term calcinosis cutis describes the deposition of insoluble calcium salts in the skin and subcutaneous tissue. There are five subtypes of calcinosis cutis: dystrophic, metastatic, idiopathic, iatrogenic, and calciphylaxis.

The treatment of calcinosis cutis is often challenging and the subtype influences the approach to treatment. Potential interventions include treatment for an underlying disease, medication to reduce calcium deposits, medication to minimize inflammation, and physical removal of calcium deposits.

The management of the various subtypes of calcinosis cutis will be reviewed here. The diagnosis and evaluation of patients with calcinosis cutis is discussed separately. (See "Calcinosis cutis: Etiology and patient evaluation" and "Calciphylaxis (calcific uremic arteriolopathy)", section on 'Treatment'.)


Dystrophic calcinosis cutis, the most common form of calcinosis cutis, results from local tissue injury. Dystrophic calcinosis cutis most frequently occurs in association with autoimmune connective tissue diseases (particularly systemic sclerosis and dermatomyositis); therefore, the treatment of this presentation will be reviewed here. Less common causes include lobular panniculitides, porphyria cutanea tarda, select genodermatoses, cutaneous neoplasms, traumatic injury, and parasitic infections. (See "Calcinosis cutis: Etiology and patient evaluation", section on 'Dystrophic calcinosis cutis'.)

Treatment principles — The treatment of dystrophic calcinosis cutis associated with autoimmune connective tissue disease is often difficult. Therefore, the primary goal of treatment is to minimize symptoms and alleviate functional limitations rather than the complete resolution of cutaneous calcification [1].


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Apr 22, 2015.
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