Nodular vasculitis and erythema induratum are forms of panniculitis that share clinical and histologic features but which differ in the precipitating event. Both are caused by a deposition of immune complexes in the walls of large blood vessels, resulting in a vasculitis. Erythema induratum was described by Bazin in 1861.


Clinical features:

(1) red, indurated plaques on the lateral and lower legs, especially the calves

(2) more common in women

(3) marked hypersensitivity to tuberculin in erythema induratum


Preceding Event



erythema induratum

bacterial infection

nodular vasculitis


nodular vasculitis


Histologic features:

(1) typically a lobular panniculitis with fat necrosis

(2) large vessel granulomatous vasculitis involving an artery or vein (which may take multiple sections to demonstrate)

(3) early lesions show an inflammatory infiltrate that is composed predominantly of neutrophils

(4) later lesions show chronic and granulomatous inflammation, which occasionally may show caseous necrosis

(5) occasionally septal inflammation may be a prominent feature


Differential diagnosis:

(1) sarcoidosis

(2) foreign body granulomas

(3) erythema nodosum

(4) autoimmune disease (polyarteritis nodosa, giant cell arteritis, SLE)

(5) infectious panniculitis


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