Indian Journal of Dermatology
  Publication of IADVL, WB
  Official organ of AADV
Indexed with Science Citation Index (E) , Web of Science and PubMed
Users online: 3681  
Home About  Editorial Board  Current Issue Archives Online Early Coming Soon Guidelines Subscriptions  e-Alerts    Login  
    Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page

Table of Contents 
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 414-415
Post herpes zoster trigeminal trophic syndrome in a child

Department of Dermatology, UCMS and GTB Hospital, Dilshad Garden, Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication10-Jul-2015

Correspondence Address:
Kavita Bisherwal
Department of Dermatology, UCMS and GTB Hospital, Dilshad Garden, Delhi
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.160501

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Dhawan AK, Bisherwal K, Grover C. Post herpes zoster trigeminal trophic syndrome in a child. Indian J Dermatol 2015;60:414-5

How to cite this URL:
Dhawan AK, Bisherwal K, Grover C. Post herpes zoster trigeminal trophic syndrome in a child. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 Jun 28];60:414-5. Available from:


A 7-year-old child was brought to the dermatology outpatient clinic with complaints of ulceration and scarring involving right side of face. The patient had complaints of dysesthesia and itching involving right side of face after episode of herpes zoster involving trigeminal nerve distribution 3 months back. The episode of herpes zoster was treated with acyclovir at 80 mg/kg in divided doses along with analgesics and subsequently lesions healed with scarring. On examination, the patient had scars present over right side of his face in trigeminal nerve distribution. The patient also had discrete ulcers over right side of face over chin and pre-auricular region. The ulcers were crescent in shape and were measuring 1 × 0.8 cm and 0.8 × 06 cm in size, respectively [Figure 1]. The Gram stain, Tzanck smear and pus culture examination did not yield any abnormality. Rest of examinations were non-contributory.
Figure 1: Clinical photograph showing post herpes zoster scar and trophic ulcers in pre auricular, cheek and chin region of right side of face

Click here to view

Trigeminal trophic syndrome (TTS) is an uncommon disorder, characterized by the triad of trigeminal anesthesia, facial paresthesia and ulceration of the lateral nasal ala. It is usually seen in elderly patients with a predilection for women. [1] The ulcers usually develop within 2 years of trigeminal nerve injury but the period may vary from several weeks to many years. [1] Pediatric TTS is all the more rare, with only a few previously reported cases in the literature, [1],[2],[3],[4] listed in [Table 1].
Table 1: Pediatric trigeminal trophic syndrome cases reported in the literature

Click here to view

TTS is reported to occur following injury to sensory branches of trigeminal nerve or its central connections. The various diseases implicated include meningioma affecting trigeminal nerve, complication of encephalitis, stroke, trauma or iatrogenic (craniotomy/birth trauma). [1],[2],[5] The peripheral causes include Bell's palsy, infections such as leprosy, syphilis, herpes simplex and herpes zoster. [2] In our case, the patient had a history of herpes zoster, suggesting its possibility for the etiology of trigeminal nerve damage.

These patients generally complain of picking, rubbing or scratching sensations in the affected areas, which are attributed to hypoesthesia, paraesthesia, or pain following damage of the sensory trigeminal fibers. The ulcerations seen are characteristically unilateral, crescents shaped and are self-induced. [1] In severe cases, ulceration may be seen over jaw, forehead, cheek and lip.

TTS is a rare cause of chronic facial ulceration. Parasitic, fungal, viral, and tuberculous infections, neoplasms (squamous and basal cell carcinomas), vasculitis (Wegener granulomatosis), pyoderma gangrenosum must be considered in the differential diagnosis. Similar lesions may occur with factitial ulcer and as a result of battered baby syndrome too. [5] It, however, differs from dermatitis artefacta or compulsive skin picking as there is an identifiable neurological abnormality. Parents' insensitiveness towards child and inconsistent history are helpful in predicting battered baby syndrome. Thus, detailed history (children and parents), astute cutaneous and sensory examination as well as psychological evaluation of both children and parents are required to conclude the diagnosis. In addition, few cases might require extensive work up including microbiological, histopathological, radiological and immunological investigations to rule out other causes of chronic facial ulceration.

The treatment is multifaceted, involving behavior modification for self-induced injury, oral psychotropic medications to decrease the paresthesias, occlusive dressings to block mechanical trauma, topical antibiotics to prevent wound infection and surgical intervention, if severe. [1],[5] Educating the patient on their primary role in the pathogenesis of this disorder is paramount, and comes out to be a challenge especially in children.

Medical treatments used include carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, amitriptyline, pregabalin, diazepam, clonazpam, chlorpromazine and pimozide. [1],[2] Less commonly, surgical reconstruction and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation may be used as treatment regimens. [2] In our case, the child was prescribed topical antibiotics and occlusive dressings. In addition, the child and the parents were counseled for behavioral modifications. The ulcers healed in next few days. Subsequently, the patient was lost to follow up, with no complaints of new ulcers till the last visit.

The current case is a unique case of TTS in a child developing as a result of herpes zoster infection and outlines the diagnostic challenges of the syndrome in children.

   References Top

Fredeking AE, Silverman RA. Successful treatment of trigeminal trophic syndrome in a 6-year-old boy with negative pressure wound therapy. Arch Dermatol 2008;144:984-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
Lyon CC, Mughal MZ, Muston HL. Herpetic trigeminal trophic syndrome in an infant. J R Soc Med 2001;94:135-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
Marandian MH, Toussi P, Kimyai-Assadi T, Soltanabadi A, Shahidi-Dadras M. Trophic ulcer caused by trigeminal neuropathy in children. Ann Pediatr (Paris) 1986;33:433-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Tee RG, Sharma V, Christen-Zach S, Horii KA, Mancini AJ. Trigeminal trophic syndrome: A pediatric case. Arch Dermatol 2006;142:941-2.  Back to cited text no. 4
Mishra SN, Nayak CS, Deshpande DJ, Pereira RR. Trigeminal trophic syndrome: A rare entity. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2011;77:729.  Back to cited text no. 5
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Unilateral ulcerations on the forehead and scalp
Sara Tormo-Mainar, David Pesqué, Ferran Olmos-Alpiste, Gustavo Deza, Alvaro March-Rodriguez, Ramon M. Pujol
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. 2022;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Article in PDF (687 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded52    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal