Munchausen's syndrome presenting as severe panniculitis

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Factitious disorders may trouble any physician during his/her career. A considerable number of cases of Munchausen's syndrome (self-induced disorder) are misdiagnosed in clinical practice. A 36-year-old woman was admitted to our hospital because of fever and abdominal pain. Physical examination showed signs of inflammation of the abdominal wall, and histological examination revealed severe panniculitis. We investigated various aetiologic factors that could probably be related to fat necrosis, but we found no explanation of the phenomenon until we verified the diagnosis of Munchausen's syndrome. 2 years later, the patient underwent surgery for removal of needles, which she herself had deliberately located under her skin. High index of suspicion and physician's persistence are necessary to make the correct diagnosis in the various protean manifestations of Munchausen's syndrome.

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