Lichtenberg Figures and Lightning: Case Reports and Review of the Literature

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The Lichtenberg figure (LF) is a recognizable skin pattern that is only seen in individuals struck by lightning. LF, also known as a ferning pattern, is a transient finding. It is not a burn, and biopsies of the skin reveal no pathologic changes. We present 3 case reports of patients who presented with LF after being struck by lightning. The explanation of what LF represents remains unknown. Many researchers believe that LFs are fractal patterns and do not correspond to known vascular or neuroanatomic patterns. We present our ideas on possible mechanisms of the pathophysiology of LFs.


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