Acute postoperative dermatosis at the site of the electrocautery pad: Sweet diagnosis of a burning issue

Roderich E. Schwarz, Marion A. Quinn, Arturo Molina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis or Sweet's syndrome is a well- described acute condition with possible paraneoplastic and inflammatory associations. A case of a 49-year-old man with a prior history of Hodgkin's disease is described, who underwent a laparotomy for operative treatment of a small intestinal stricture and therapy-refractory gastroesophageal reflux. Incidentally, mild mesenteric lymphadenopathy was encountered, and a biopsy confirmed the presence of a new, unrelated low-grade follicular lymphoma. Two weeks postoperatively, the patient developed a tender erythematous plaque at the site of the Bovie electrocautery pad on the proximal thigh. Over the following week, the affected area extended in size, and became markedly edematous and infiltrated, with hemorrhagic surface studding. Multiple small plaques, some with annular arrays of pustules, were found on the opposite lower extremity, the lower back, and the arms. A skin biopsy suggested the presence of Sweet's syndrome, and corticosteroid treatment was initiated. All cutaneous manifestations disappeared within 48h except for the presence of postinflammatory erythema. Acute neutrophilic dermatoses have not been previously described in this postoperative presentation. The differential diagnostic importance of this emergent entity and the potential for it being caused by surgical trauma are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-209
Number of pages3
JournalSurgery Today
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 16 2000


  • Acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis
  • Electrocautery pad
  • Postoperative complications
  • Sweet's syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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