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What is a Dermatofibroma?

A dermatofibroma is an extremely common form of skin growth, and is also called a fibrous histiocytoma.


What causes a Dermatofibroma?

The exact answer to this is unknown. In some cases, a dermatofibroma can arise in an area of minor injury such as an insect bite or thorn prick. Often though, no cause is found.


What does a Dermatofibroma look like?

A dermatofibroma is usually a small skin growth of around 4-5mm diameter. They can be flesh colored, pink or dark. Occasionally a dermatofibroma can look like a malignant skin growth and can even be mistaken by specialists.

Please click for pictures of dermatofibromas.


Do Dermatofibromas cause any symptoms?

Whilst they usually cause no symptoms at all, a dermatofibroma can occasionally itch. If they are on the leg then they can get caught when shaving and bleed. The most common reason for people seeking treatment for dermatofibromas is for cosmetic reasons.


How can Dermatofibromas be treated?

  • Do nothing - as a dermatofibroma is benign (not a cancer), they can be left alone. Occasionally, though, they may be removed because they are in a cosmetically sensitive area such as the face, or the specialist may be unsure as to a diagnosis and want to remove the growth in case it is a cancer; this is especially so if the dermatofibroma starts to itch.

  • Cryotherapy - a special freeze spray can be used to freeze the dermatofibroma, making it fall off in the next few days. The treatment stings slightly but is relatively straightforward. More than one treatment may be needed, and the dermatofibroma can recur over time. A small pale scar may result from cryotherapy

  • Surgery - excision is usually the treatment option for dermatofibromas. This is usually under local anesthetic and will usually require stitches. The advantages are that recurrence rates are very low and the lab can examine the tissue for a diagnosis.


Please click for pictures of dermatofibromas.


Have you read our articles on skin cancers?


Any procedure involving skin incision can also result in unfavourable scarring, wound infection, or bleeding. This list of risks is not exhaustive, and you should discuss possible complications with your specialist.

The information provided is as a guide only. Please also read our disclaimer





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