St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Nikolsky's sign

    Nikolsky's sign is a skin finding in which the top layers of the skin slip away from the lower layers when slightly rubbed.

    Considerations

    Your doctor or nurse can use a pencil eraser to test for Nikolsky's sign. The result may be positive or negative.

    A pencil eraser is placed on your skin and gently twisted back and forth.

    If the test result is positive, a blister will form in the area, usually within minutes.

    A positive result is usually a sign of a blistering skin condition. People with a positive sign have loose skin that slips free from the underlying layers when rubbed. The area beneath is pink and moist and usually very tender.

    Causes

    • Autoimmune condition (Pemphigus vulgaris)
    • Bacterial infection ( Scalded skin syndrome)
    • Toxic drug reaction (Toxic epidermal necrolysis)

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you or your child develop painful loosening, redness, and blistering of the skin without an obvious cause.

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    The conditions associated with Nikolsky's sign are serious, and most people are sent to the hospital. You will be asked for your medical history and given a physical examination. You may be given fluid and antibiotics through a vein (intravenously).

    Your doctor may ask the following questions:

    • When did you first notice that the skin was red or blistered?
    • What other symptoms occur at the same time?

    References

    Pasternack MS, Swartz MN. Cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis, and subcutaneous tissue infections. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 90.

    Schumann-Gable N. Dermatology. In: Custer JW, Rau RE, eds. The Harriet Lane Handbook. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 8.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Nikolsky's sign

      illustration

    • Skin layers

      illustration

      • Nikolsky's sign

        illustration

      • Skin layers

        illustration

      Talking to your MD

        Self Care

          Tests for Nikolsky's sign

            Review Date: 1/26/2012

            Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            History
            Mission
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs
            Assessment

            Newsroom
            Services
            Brain & Spine
            Cancer
            Heart
            Maternity
            Orthopedics
            Pulmonary
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            mystlukes
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Health Risk Assessments
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Volunteer
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            Careers
            Careers
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile