Calcinosis universalis

Calcinosis universalis is a condition characterised by long bands or sheets of symmetrical subcutaneous calcification.

It usually presents <20 years of age, and is more common in women.

  • palpable calcific plaques in subcutaneous or deeper tissue
  • fatigue, muscle pain, and stiffness
  • possible high levels of γ-carboxyglutamic acid in tissues and urine

~1/3 of cases are associated with sclerodermadermatomyositis, polymyositis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Calcinosis universalis manifests as long bands of symmetrical subcutaneous calcification seen extending along deep fascial planes. Tendon and ligamental involvement has been described.

Unlike tumoral calcinosis, it is plaque or sheet like rather than mass like. The calcifications tend to be coarser and larger than those seen in hyperparathyroidism or chronic renal disease. It can be distinguished from heterotopic ossification by the absence of organised bone formation and the lack of previous trauma or injury.

No established therapy is recognised, but calcium chelates (EDTA) bisphosphonates, and steroids have been used with little consistent benefit. Local surgical excision of symptomatic calcinosis has been shown to relieve symptoms in cases.

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Article information

rID: 33788
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Calcinosis cutis universalis

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: possible dermatomyositis with calcinosis cutis
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