Images of Dermatofibroma (4)
A dermatofibroma is a common growth on the skin that has no known cause. Dermatofibromas can be found anywhere on the body, but they most often develop on the extremities, with the lower legs being the most common place to find them. They are usually round, brownish to red-purple, and feel like hard lumps under the skin. While dermatofibromas are usually painless, there can be some itching or tenderness to touch.
Who's At Risk?
Dermatofibromas are most commonly seen in females and can occur at any age, with most growths beginning in teens and young adults. They do tend to occur in families; if a child has a dermatofibroma, it is likely that a close relative has at least one as well.
Signs & Symptoms
Dermatofibromas are most often found on the arms and legs of women. They are small brown or reddish-brown mobile nodules, and they feel quite firm. They may be tender to touch. Many lesions demonstrate a “dimple sign,” where the central portion puckers as the lesion is compressed on the sides. They generally do not change in size.
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- The lesion is benign; therefore, reassurance is often all that is needed.
- Often symptomatic, protruding dermatofibromas can be reduced in size by liquid nitrogen (freezing) therapy or steroid injections to the lesion. In darker-skinned individuals, freezing with liquid nitrogen and steroid injection of may cause pigmentary change that is usually temporary.
- Surgical excision can be performed, but due to the high incidence of recurrence, the use of topical steroids or steroid injections into the lesion post-excision is often necessary.
Dermatofibromas are benign lesions, but seek medical evaluation if a lesion begins to increase in size, becomes painful, or if large numbers of dermatofibromas in grouped or linear clusters are seen.
Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.1869-1870. New York: Mosby, 2003.
Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed, pp.41, 668, 995, 1162. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.