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Erma L. Benitez, M.D.
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Common Growths

Syringomas are small (2 millimeter) lesions of sweat gland ducts. They occur most often in woman, form frequently on the lower eyelid, and are usually skin colored. The lesions also may be white. They are asymptomatic (do not hurt or itch). Treatment includes electrosurgery, surgical removal, laser surgery, and dermabrasion.

Trichoepitheliomas are small skin-colored lesions that occur most commonly on the face and neck and may resemble basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. The cause is not completely understood. These tumors represent the body's attempt to form hair follicles and shafts. In some people, they can become quite numerous and large, and interfere with everyday function if they occur in areas such as the ear canal or eye region. These can be removed with surgery, laser treatment, or dermabrasion.

A neurofibroma may resemble a non-colored mole, but is often very soft. These lesions are usually asymptomatic (do not hurt or itch), but may be tender to the touch. The benign growths are derived from nerve sheath cells in the skin. They may be removed surgically if they are annoying. When there are numerous nuerofibromas, patches of pigmentation, and freckling in the armpits, the individual may have an inherited disorder called neurofibromatosis. There are many forms of this disease, which may be assciated with brain tumors and internal nuerofibromas that can become malignant. Such patients require close monitoring and genetic counseling.

Hemangioma (Cherry Angioma)
Hemangiomas are benign growths consisting of numerous small blood vessels. The typical lesion is small, red, and occurs most commonly on the torso of adults; however, a hemangioma can develop anywhere on the body. Some may become the size of a pencil eraser and be purple in color. Usually asymptomatic (do not hurt or itch), larger lesions may bleed and require these lesions, including excision, electrosurgery, and laser surgery.

Seborrheic Keratoses and Verrucous Acanthoma
These lesions have a wart-like appearance, and may be smooth or flat. They can range in color from skin-colored to jet black. If they have a mixture of brown and black colors, the can resemble an atypical mole or melanoma, a lethal form or skin cancer, and a biopsy may be performed. In general, seborrheic keratoses are quite common and numerous. If one is extremely large and thich, it is known as a verrucous acanthoma. Most frequently seen in older individuals, seborrheic keratoses may be inherited. In people with skin of color, they often appear as small black lesions around the eyes (dermatosis papulosa nigra). Lesions may be removed for cosmetic reasons or if they are associated with intense itching, irritation, or bleeding. Treatment includes cryosurgery (freezing), shaving, cutettage (scraping), and electrodessication (burning).

​Nevi (Moles)
Moles may be pigmented or skin-colored. They arise in the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) of the skin and can be congenital (present at birth). Moles are more commonly develp throughout childhood. Nevi may be flat or elevated and grow to about the size of a pencil eraser. They can develop any place on the body, and may disapper with time. A changing or irregular mole may indicate cancer. All moles should be examined by a dermatologist, and suspicious lesions should be biopsied. Moles also may be removed if they become irritated and for cosmetic reason. Any mole that grows, changes in shape or color, or bleeds should be evaluated by a dermatologist.