Section : History & Terminology

Pretibial Myxedema / Pretibial Mucinosis: where do the words come from ?

  • The Greek and Latin words of origin are:
    • μυξοσ = muxos = mucosité – latin : mucos
    • οιδεμα = oidema = swelling
  • The first term in Greek is not universally used anymore.
  • The latin translation of the Greek word is “mucos”.
  • The terms translated into Latin from Greek are sometimes confusing: it is probably the reason why words containing “myx” are being abandoned (or out in brackets) and are replaced by the Latin origin “mucos” (wwhich sounds more logical)
  • Mucinoses are a group of very diverse skin conditions which have in common the accumulation of mucin (composed of glycosaminoglycanes.
  • A certain number of dermatological conditions like tumors and inflammatory dermatoses contain mucin. When the accumulaiton becomes important, the term “mucinosis” is used
  • To the dermatologist mucinoses can present as erythema, papules and plaques.
  • Pretibial myxedema is a well-described entity and is linked to disorders of the thyroid gland.
  • Other entities are lichen myxedematosus (or papular mucinosis), scleromyxedema (generalized lichen myxedematosusm sclerodermoid lichen myxedematosus).
  • However reticulated and erythematous mucinosis (REM) described later by Steigleider only has one denomination.


Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

Source of information: Harms M. Dermatologica Helvetica (The Swiss Journal of Dermatology and Venereology)