By Gary M. White, MD

A lightening strike can result in bizarrely-shaped color changes on the skin. A fern-like appearance has been suggested and the term Lichtenberg figures is used. The lesions do not represent true burns. Instead, they reflect extravasated red blood cells into the superficial layers of the skin from cutaneous capillaries.


Linear lesions, often taking the sharp-angled branching shape of ferns, feathers or lightening itself are characteristic.


No treatment is needed for the Lichtenberg figures. However, the patient must be assessed for serious internal injuries which can be fatal.


Keraunographic tattoo. Indian Dermatol Online J 2014;5, Suppl S1:52-3

Dermatologica Sinica 32 (2014) 37e38

JAAD November 2010 Volume 63, Issue 5, Pages e105–e106


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