Dermatofibroma is a skin disorder identified by formation of irregular skin growths. It mostly affects the skin on the legs. Physicians also refer to the condition as sclerosing hemangioma.The abnormal growths of dermatofibroma are often made up of fibrous tissues as well as dermal histiocyte dendritic cells. It is therefore also called fibrous histiocytoma.

The skin defects associated with dermatofibroma are non-malignant. The condition is regarded as a type of urticaria, which is also a form of skin infection. Most instances of dermatofibroma growths occur as a single tumor, while sometimes it may appear in groups or bunches. The abnormal tumors are small and generally grow up to half or 1 cm in diameter. They are globular, firm, and appear like a hardened bulb that projects out. They may be brownish or purple in color and may comprise of scar tissue. The deeper sections of the skin, including the dermis, can also be affected by dermatofibroma.

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Instances of mild dermatofibroma are usually harmless and do not require medical treatment. Affected people may however consult a doctor if they find the growths to be cosmetically offensive.

Symptoms of dermatofibroma

Some usual signs and symptoms of dermatofibroma are as follows:

  • The skin defects are distinctive and very different from other anomalous growths on skin.
  • Most dermatofibroma growths are painless. However, they may experience increased irritability and tenderness over time, thereby causing pain.
  • Most of these growths are itchy and sensitive.
  • They generally appear as a solitary tumor, but may also sometimes form in clusters.
  • When pinched, dermatofibroma growths move inwards. They may bleed after being scratched.
  • The lower sections of legs typically develop the irregular skin growths. Occasionally, they may also form on the torso or upper limbs.
  • Affected skin regions may turn into clear noticeable spots. Such patches may be pinkish, brownish, grayish, purplish, or reddish. The colors may vary with the passage of time.
  • Dermatofibroma skin defects may also differ greatly in size. They may be tinier than a BB pellet or grow as large as a kidney bean.

Dermatofibromagrowths are non-malignant tumors. It is however vital for patients to get them checked by a doctor. Any kind of anomalous skin growth that is dark in color or which changes in size, color, or shape has to be examined by a physician. Patients with skin growths that bleed or cause intense pain need to seek immediate medical attention.

Causes of dermatofibroma

The cause of dermatofibroma is unknown. The skin defects associated with dermatofibroma first occur as a rounded and tender hardened papule, which may later change sizes.

The below listed risk factors can pose increased threat to development of dermatofibroma:

  • The risk increases after sustaining minor injuries. Even an insect bite can result in dermatofibroma.
  • Studies have indicated links between genetic errors and formation of dermatofibroma. Hence, people with a family history of the disorder are more susceptible.
  • It can affect all age groups. It is however uncommon in children, and more prevalent in middle-aged and older adults.
  • Women are more vulnerable than men.

Treatment of dermatofibroma

Dermatofibroma is a mild skin disorder and therefore generally does not require medical treatment. However, skin growths that bleed, itch, or are painful have to be checked by a doctor.

Usual procedures and tests usually do not offer a final diagnosis of dermatofibroma. Therefore most physicians go for a biopsy, wherein a part of the affected tissue is surgically removed and investigated in a lab.

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Some patients may opt for surgery to remove the irregular growths on skin. They may do so for cosmetic reasons, or if the growth causes discomfort.For example, dermatofibroma growths on face can get cut while shaving. Growths on other areas may cause friction with clothes and lead to irritation.

It is also important to note that a kind of skin cancer called dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans appears like dermatofibroma in its early stages. It is a rare form of cancer that can spread to other parts of the body. Therefore, all patients must consult a doctor whenever they experience the formation of dermatofibroma-like skin growths.

Some common treatment methods for dermatofibroma are as follows:

  • Surgery: It is the most common treatment option for dermatofibroma skin growths. If the growths affect the deeper skin layers, then surgery to remove them can lead to scarring.
  • Cryosurgery: In this advanced medical procedure, doctors use liquid nitrogen to freeze the uppermost parts of dermatofibroma growths and thus destroy them. The method does not cause scarring.
  • Other surgical procedures: Doctors may use special surgical tools to scrap off the uppermost layers of skin affected by dermatofibroma. This method does not cause scarring.

The last two options destroy just the topmost sections of the abnormal skin growths. Hence, they can grow again after a period of time. In such cases patients may need to undergo the surgical procedures once again.

Dermatofibroma pictures

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