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The Grenz Zone

Abbas, Ossama, MD*; Mahalingam, Meera, MD, PhD, FRCpath

The American Journal of Dermatopathology: February 2013 - Volume 35 - Issue 1 - p 83–91
doi: 10.1097/DAD.0b013e31824feb4e
Review Article

The grenz zone is a narrow area of the papillary dermis uninvolved by underlying pathology. Historically believed to be a feature unique to granuloma faciale, this feature has also been observed in other cutaneous inflammatory conditions, infectious entities, and neoplastic benign and malignant tumors. This review attempts to enumerate cutaneous entities commonly displaying a grenz zone with an emphasis on histopathological features that help in their differentiation. It also attempts to answer the obvious question of why select entities have this histopathologic feature by ascertaining the defining structure of a grenz zone.

*Department of Dermatology, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon

Department of Dermatology, Dermatopathology Section, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.

Reprints: Meera Mahalingam, MD, PhD, FRCPath, 609 Albany Street, J-301, Boston, MA 02118 (e-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to declare.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.