ZocdocAnswersWhat is Dermatofibromas?

Question

What is Dermatofibromas?

I recently went to see my doctor with two big nodules on my inner, upper thigh that I thought were just cysts or ingrown hairs. But no, she says they're fibromas and that we shouldn't even bother treating them. But they upset me to see and aren't they just going to get worse? What are they?

Answer

Dermatofibromas are benign (non cancerous) growths of a specific skin cell known as a fibroblast (hence the name). They are common in adults and tend to occur in the lower extremities. Often they are associated with trauma or an insect bite, but frequently they occur without any preceding condition. Clinically, they are firm, dark bumps less than about a centimeter in diameter. they differ from moles in that they will deform and dimple in the center when they are pinched. the diagnoses is purely based on clinical appearance, there is no need to biopsy. The lesions do not tend to grow larger than a centimeter and are not prone to progressive growth. There is no medical indication to remove these lesion and often they recur after excision, much to the dismay of the patient. That being said, there is a very small chance that these growth will progress to cancer and thus if the lesion is changing in size or appearance, it is necessary to see your doctor for an excision. If the lesion is an annoyance because it is protruding in such a way that it is persistently being traumatized (eg lesions on legs in women tend to be a nuisance while shaving) then it can be partially shaved down or frozen such that it is more flush with the surrounding skin (it will still be an area of discoloration).

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.