Article Text

Subcutaneous fat necrosis: a term in question for skin alteration in pigs with dimpled appearance
  1. Alexandra von Altrock1,
  2. Marion Hewicker-Trautwein2,
  3. Petra Wolf3,4,
  4. Doris Hoeltig1 and
  5. Isabel Hennig-Pauka5
  1. 1 Clinic for Swine, Small Ruminants, Forensic Medicine and Ambulatory Service, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany
  2. 2 Department of Pathology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany
  3. 3 Department of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany
  4. 4 Institute of Animal Nutrition, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany
  5. 5 5University Clinic for Swine, Department for Farm Animals and VeterinaryPublic Health, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Dr. Alexandra von Altrock; alexandra.von.altrock{at}


In 1957, a case of dimpled skin alterations in pigs on a farm was described. The dimpled appearance of the skin was assumed to be due to subcutaneous fat necrosis. Presumably based on that report, the term ‘fat necrosis’ was adopted and used in textbooks where it can be found until today. In the presented case, two five-month-old pigs with multifocal irregular dimpling and cobblestone-like skin changes resembling skin alterations termed ‘subcutaneous fat necrosis’ were investigated. Histology showed that the thickness of the subcutaneous adipose tissue of the dimpled skin area was markedly lower than that of the cobblestone-like area. Biochemical analysis revealed that skin from the cobblestone-like area had a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids than the dimpled skin area. The results suggest that the dimpled skin appearance of the pigs examined in this study is due to a lower thickness of the outer backfat layer.

  • Skin
  • fat necrosis
  • swine
  • backfat layer
  • fatty acid composition

Statistics from


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.