Weber-Christian Disease

  • Medical Author:

    Dr. Alai is an actively practicing medical and surgical dermatologist in south Orange County, California. She has been a professor of dermatology and family medicine at the University of California, Irvine since 2000. She is U.S. board-certified in dermatology, a 10-year-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Fellow of the American Society of Mohs Surgery.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What is panniculitis?

The tissue layer under the skin (epidermis and dermis) is called the subcutaneous fat or panniculus. This subcutaneous tissue is very important in temperature regulation and protective insulation of the body. Inflammation of this essential layer of fatty tissue is called panniculitis. In panniculitis, the overlying skin typically appears as red or purplish lumps.

What are other symptoms of Weber-Christian disease?

Weber-Christian disease can also cause symptoms other than in the skin, such as fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and joint pain. Occasionally, inflammation occurs in other organs of the body to cause heart, lung, kidney, liver, and/or spleen problems. Liver involvement may first cause abdominal pain. The skin symptoms provide perhaps the most important clue to the diagnosis of Weber-Christian syndrome. Overall, symptoms with this syndrome may come and go, and relapses are common.

What causes Weber-Christian disease?

The cause of Weber-Christian disease or idiopathic lobular panniculitis is not known. Idiopathic means unknown cause. A misdirected immune reaction may play a role. The cause may be related to an abnormal bodily response to the normal inflammation.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/8/2015

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