ABNORMAL SWELLINGS & TUMORS
As the body ages, it is very common for growths, lumps, bumps, and moles to develop on the skins surface. There are numerous skin conditions that cause these symptoms and many different therapies to treat these conditions ranging from topical ointments and creams to lasers.
Below we will address some of these conditions and the available treatments so that you may know your options in order to maintain your great skin!
A mole is a general term used to describe a growth on the skin. Moles can appear anywhere on the body, either as a single isolated growth, or appear in groups of numerous growths. In children, there harmless growths are sometimes referred to as “beauty marks.” As a person ages, it is common for new moles to develop and for existing moles to slowly change color and become raised. Hair may or may not grow out of a mole.
Mole on the eye brow
Moles develop when skin cells cluster together instead of evenly spreading out over the body’s surface. The human body gets its color or pigment from cells called melanocytes. When these cells cluster together, a colored growth appears. Pregnancy and sun exposure can darken the color of a mole. Moles are not dangerous and are generally not a medical concern. One may opt to have moles removed for cosmetic reasons, but as long one does not notice a change in a moles color or shape, there is little reason for concern. A person should be concerned and consult his or her dermatologist immediately if a mole appears different than other growths on the body or if it itches or bleeds. These can be signs of Melanoma (the most common form of skin cancer) and can be effectively treated if caught early.
If one opts to have a mole or moles removed for cosmetic reasons, he or she should speak to one of our doctors. There are several treatment options including non surgical laser therapy.
DPNs are very common on African American skin! These “moles” are small (typically 1-5mm in size), are usually dark brown or black in color, and site right on the surface of the skin. They tend to develop on the face, neck and upper chest. While DPNs are not considered to be dangerous moles, they often become irritated, which warrants removal by a dermatology specialist.
Several methods for DPN removal are often employed. These include removing the tag with scissors, freezing the tag with liquid nitrogen, or burning off the tag using medical electric cautery.
A nevus is a true mole. While most nevi are benign, any “mole” that is new or changing needs to be evaluated by a dermatology specialist to make sure it isn’t developing into a skin cancer. Dermatologists use the “ABCDEs of moles” (see picture below) when examining moles. A nevus with 1 or more abnormal features may need to be biopsied to rule-out cancer.
- Skin tags
- Skin Cysts
Dermatofibroma is a common skin lesion that is benign (non-cancerous). Dermatofibroma present as firm nodules commonly found on the legs and arms and can appear yellow-brown or sometimes pink in color. While majority of dermatofibroma cases develop in young adulthood, it can develop at any age. Studies have shown that females are more susceptible to developing the condition than males. A person may have one or several dermatofibromas. They may develop independently or all at the same time. Dermatofibromas are of little medical concern. For cosmetic reasons one may opt to have a dermatologist remove their dermatofibromas, but as far as health risks are concerned, dermatofibromas are of no risk. If the lesion becomes painful or undergoes a significant change in appearance, one should consult our doctors for a consultation. In some cases, a dark color within a lesion may raise concerns about melanoma.
For those who opt to have their lesion(s) removed for cosmetic reasons, our doctors may recommend a particular treatment option depending on the size, location, and surrounding skin tone. Treatment suggestions may include: reducing the lesion size using liquid nitrogen to freeze the lesion, or a steroid injections into the lesion. Surgical excision can be performed, but one runs the risk of the lesion(s) reoccurring and a cosmetically unappealing scar.
There are numerous types of cysts that can develop within the body or within organs. Skin cysts are benign (non-cancerous) slow growing, painless pockets of tissue that feel like small pebbles under the skins surface. One can determine if he or she has a cyst before visiting a dermatologist by feeling around for a “lump.” They can be filled with fluid, pus, or other materials. Cyst size can vary from being only detectable under a microscope, to large where the cyst can push organs out of place. Many events can lead to the development of a cyst. Infection and clogging of sebaceous (oil) glands are just two of many conditions that can cause a cyst. Cysts have been shown to develop around foreign bodies, such as body piercings and earrings.
A skin cyst will generally not cause pain unless ruptured of inflamed. Some cysts dissolve on their own while others may need to be “drained.” Draining a cyst means piercing the cyst and releasing the fluid in it. Other cysts may be surgically removed or treated with a cortisone injection that will shrink the cyst’s size or removed surgically.
Lipomas are harmless subcutaneous (occur in the deepest layer of skin) tumors or nodules. Lipomas feel soft and fatty and are enclosed by a thin, fibrous capsule. They can appear anywhere on the body, however, they often form on the trunk, shoulders, and neck. A lipoma can develop as an isolated nodule or develop along with several nodules in an isolated location. An average lipoma spans about 5cm in size and presents with minimal symptoms aside from feeling tender to the touch. Lipomas do not infiltrate surrounding tissue and organs and for that reason, there is generally no need to have them removed. One may want a lipoma to be removed for cosmetic reasons or if the mass is causing pain by compressing a surrounding nerve. In such an event, the lipoma may be surgically removed. Of late, liposuction has been used to remove lipomas leaving behind a more cosmetically appealing scar.
For the above conditions, our dermatologic surgeons may perform a biopsy, which is covered by most insurances. A biopsy is simply a test where the doctor takes a sample of the infected tissue and sends it to our lab for further examination and to determine whether a disease is present.
To learn more about Body swellings and Moles, contact us today to schedule an appointment with our dermatologists.
One of the most common dermatological procedures is cyst excision. There are several different types of cysts that can occur on the skin or scalp.
Sebaceous cysts, also known as epidermal inclusion cysts, are among the most common skin problems, usually presenting as a nodule under the skin, often with a punctum connecting to the surface. On the scalp similar cysts are termed pilar cysts. Sometimes there is an unpleasant odor and a cheese-like material can sometimes be expressed from a cyst. Sebaceous cysts can be uncomfortable due to their size, and unpleasant due to odor and leakage of materials. They can also sometimes get infected, or rupture leading to inflammation as cyst contents spill into the surrounding tissue.
A sebaceous cyst has a cyst wall, which serves to separate the cyst contents from the surrounding tissue. This wall must be removed in its entirety, along with all cyst contents, or the cyst has a high likelihood of returning. To surgically remove a sebaceous cyst, first the area is cleaned and prepped, then local anesthesia is injected around and under the cyst and in the skin overlying the cyst. After this a small incision or punch is made overlying the cyst, and the cyst wall is dissected away from the surrounding skin and subcutaneous tissue. Often a large cyst can be removed through only a small incision or punch. Evan a very large cyst can be taken out through a small incision by first expressing the cyst contents and then removing the cyst wall. Following removal of the cyst the area should be well irrigated with sterile saline, following which the incision can be repaired, usually by suturing the skin in layers. Usually cyst excisions are closed easily, but it is important to eliminate any dead space with deep sutures and to close the wound without tension by undermining the adjacent skin. Depending on the cyst location, you will then return to your dermatologist in 5 days to two weeks for suture removal.
Although a sebaceous cyst is a very common growth, it can sometimes be confused with other neoplasms.
A nodule under the skin can also be a lipoma. Various developmental cysts will also present as cystic nodules. Various adnexal neoplasm can also present as nodules, as can cutaneous B-cell lymphoma, epithelioid sarcoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and cutaneous metastases. However, when a central punctum is present and characteristic cyst-like contents expressed, the diagnosis is not much in doubt.
Call For A Sebaceous Cyst Consultation
ADVANCED SKIN CLINIC
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