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Linea nigra - Skin
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Linea nigra - Skin

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Contributors: Alexis Perkins MD, Nikki Levin MD, Jeffrey D. Bernhard MD, Noah Craft MD, PhD, Lindy P. Fox MD, Lowell A. Goldsmith MD, MPH, Michael D. Tharp MD
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Synopsis

Linea nigra (Latin for "black line"), or linea gravidarum, is a linear midline band of macular hyperpigmentation that runs vertically from the pubis to the xiphoid process. This entity is much more common in darkly pigmented patients. It is most commonly seen in pregnant women, particularly in those of darker skin types.

Linea nigra appears to be a consequence of increased production of melanin secondary to increased estrogen. In 90% of pregnant women, hyperpigmentation of some type is seen, including darkening of the areolae, ephelides, scars, or melasma. Fair-skinned women develop hyperpigmentation less often than women with darker pigmentation. Linea nigra tends to appear around the second or third trimester. After birth, the line fades over time, but it may never disappear entirely.

In a population-based study of Nigerians, linea nigra was found to be present in both males and females. For males, incidence peaked at 40% in the 11- to 15-year-old age group, whereas in females, incidence was highest in the 16- to 30-year-old group, in which 85% were affected. Pregnant women were 60 times more likely than nonpregnant women to have linea nigra.

Codes

ICD10CM:
L81.8 – Other specified disorders of pigmentation

SNOMEDCT:
90751002 – Linea nigra

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Last Updated: 01/23/2015
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Linea nigra - Skin
See also in: Overview
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Linea nigra : Abdomen, Brown color, Hyperpigmented patch, Linear configuration
Clinical image of Linea nigra
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