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Aplasia Cutis Congenita Treatment & Management

  • Author: Joy Wan, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
 
Updated: Mar 02, 2016
 

Medical Care

The decision to use medical, surgical, or both forms of therapy in aplasia cutis congenita (ACC) depends primarily on the size, depth, and location of the cutaneous defect and any therapy indicated for associated defects.[61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71]

Local therapy includes gentle cleansing and application of a bland ointment or topical antibiotic ointment to prevent desiccation of the defect.

Antibiotics are only indicated if overt signs of infection are noted.

Other treatment is rarely necessary because the erosions and ulcerations almost always heal spontaneously.

A variety of specialized dressing materials have been used.[72, 73]

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Surgical Care

Surgical repair is not usually indicated in aplasia cutis congenita (ACC) if the defect is small. Recovery is uneventful, with gradual epithelialization and formation of a hairless, atrophic scar over several weeks. Small underlying bony defects usually close spontaneously during the first year of life.

Surgical repair of large or multiple scalp defects may require excision with primary closure, if feasible, or the use of tissue expanders and rotation of a flap to fill the defect. Occasionally, skin or bone grafting may be required.

Patients with large, full-thickness scalp defects may face a treatment dilemma: conservative versus surgical therapy of the defect. Complete osseous regeneration of a large skull defect associated with aplasia cutis congenita has been obtained with a conservative approach of skin care and topical antibiotics. No surgical treatment of bone or soft tissue reconstruction was necessary. On the other hand, aplasia cutis congenita of the scalp may be complicated by sagittal sinus hemorrhage or thrombosis, and primary closure with scalp flaps may prevent a potentially fatal outcome.

Truncal and limb defects, despite their large size, usually epithelialize and form atrophic scars, which can later be revised if necessary.

Patients should be evaluated for evidence of epidermolysis bullosa before a surgical endeavor is undertaken.

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Consultations

Genetic counseling should be considered if associated anomalies are noted. Consultations based on other findings are appropriate to evaluate these conditions.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Joy Wan, MD Resident Physician, Department of Dermatology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Joy Wan, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Society for Pediatric Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Van Perry, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Texas School of Medicine at San Antonio

Van Perry, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

William D James, MD Paul R Gross Professor of Dermatology, Vice-Chairman, Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

William D James, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Mark A Crowe, MD Assistant Clinical Instructor, Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology, University of Washington School of Medicine

Mark A Crowe, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology and North American Clinical Dermatologic Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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Aplasia cutis congenita on the scalp (most common location) shortly after birth.
Triplet areas of aplasia cutis congenita are common in infants with trisomy 13.
This area of healed aplasia cutis congenita is located in an area of nevus flammeus. Note the collarette of coarser hair at the margin of the defect.
Extensive aplasia cutis congenita on the scalp, extending down to the skull.
Bilateral involvement of the lower extremities in aplasia cutis congenita associated with fetus papyraceous.
 
 
 
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