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Phaeohyphomycosis pathology

Author: Dr Ben Tallon, Dermatologist/Dermatopathologist, Tauranga, New Zealand, 2011.

Table of contents

Phaeohyphomycosis refers to a group of mycoses (fungal infections) that are dematiaceous, which means they are pigmented. The pigment is due to their ability to deposit melanin in their cell walls.

Histology of phaeohyphomycosis

Scanning power view of phaeohyphomycosis shows a deeply extending granulomatous pattern (Figure 1) which may show areas of necrosis (Figure 2). Centrally an abscess or cystic nodule may form. Frequently a foreign body such as a wood splinter can be seen. The epidermis commonly shows pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia. The inflammatory infiltrate is comprised of histiocytes with multinucleated giant cells, and numerous neutrophils (Figures 3,4 and 5). At high power branching septate pigmented fungal hyphae can be seen (Figure 6).

Phaeohyphomycosis pathology

Special stains in phaeohyphomycosis

PAS (Figures 7 and 8) or Grocott methenamine silver stains can be used to enhance visualisation of the fungal hyphae.

Phaeohyphomycosis pathology, PAS stain

Differential diagnosis of phaeohyphomycosis

Chromomycosis: This pigmented fungal infection demonstrates formation of rounded sclerotic or septate bodies/muriform cells.



  • Skin Pathology (3rd edition, 2002). Weedon D
  • Pathology of the Skin (3rd edition, 2005). McKee PH, J. Calonje JE, Granter SR

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