Confusion exists concerning the terminology and differentiation of the subcutaneous adipose diseases of the neonate. Of these uncommon disorders, subcutaneous fat necrosis (adiponecrosis subcutanea neonatorum) and sclerema neonatorum (sclerema adiposum) are encountered more often than scleredema (sclerema edematosum). Although scleredema probably represents an edematous form of sclerema neonatorum, some workers consider it a distinct clinical entity.
Since the causes of subcutaneous fat derangements of the newborn are unknown, one may rationally consider if a relationship exists between them, the connective tissue disorders, and reticuloendothelial diseases. The specificity of adipose tissue is a debatable question. Flemming, in 1870, stated that adipose tissue is ordinary connective tissue in which fat has been deposited. This contention was difficult to accept because some sites functioned as fat deposits, while other connective tissues were devoid of fat accumulations. Wells 1 speculated whether at times connective tissue undergoes a transformation into adipose tissue, or