Q:

What is a dermatofibroma?

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Quick Answer

A dermatofibroma is a round, noncancerous growth on the skin that is usually small and hard, the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology states. These growths range in color from brown to reddish purple, and they may itch and change color over time.

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Full Answer

Dermatofibromas commonly form on the upper arms, upper back and lower legs, but they can appear anywhere, according to Drugs.com. Dermatofibromas rarely affect children, and most adults only develop one lump, which usually doesn’t exceed 0.5 inches in diameter. Although dermatofibromas are painless, doctors may examine a growth with an irregular appearance or a bleeding sore. Doctors can remove tissue from the dermatofibroma to perform a biopsy examination.

Doctors believe dermatofibromas may be triggered by a minor skin injury, such as a splinter, the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology states. Since surgical removal creates a scar, doctors recommend leaving a dermatofibroma alone if it doesn’t cause any complications. Removal of a harmless growth generally occurs when the dermatofibroma is an inconvenient location frequently exposed to friction from clothing or shaving tools. A common removal option is to shave the upper surface and cut or freeze the center. However, only a small portion of the growth is visible on the skin’s surface, and surgical techniques don’t destroy the remaining growth.

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