Idiopathic livedo reticularis

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Definition

Idiopathic or primary livedo reticularis refers to a netlike pattern of reddish-blue skin discoloration. Usually the legs are affected. The condition is linked to swollen blood vessels. It may get worse when the temperature is cold.

Idiopathic means the cause is unknown.

Alternative Names

Livedo reticularis; Primary livedo reticularis

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

The cause of primary or idiopathic livedo reticularis is not known, therefore specific treatment is usually not recommended. If the condition is due to exposure to cold, keeping the legs warm may help relieve the symptoms.

Support Groups

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention

References

James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 35.

Katugampola RP, Finlay AY. Livedo reticularis. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2009:pp 399-400.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 4/13/2013
  • Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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This page was last updated: May 20, 2014

         
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