• Acrochordons

    (Skin Tags; Fibroepithelial Polyps)

    Definition

    Acrochordons are harmless skin growths that appear to hang off the skin. Acrochordons can be mistaken for a more serious condition, so if you think you have one, see your healthcare provider.
    Acrochordons
    hanging skin tag
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    Acrochordons consist of collagen fibers and blood vessels that are surrounded by a thin layer of skin. It is not clear what causes them.

    Risk Factors

    A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The following factors increase your chance of developing acrochordons. If you have any of these risk factors, tell your doctor:

    Symptoms

    Acrochordons are usually flesh-colored, but may be darker in color. They are generally small, but can range in size from 1 millimeter to 5 centimeters in diameter. They are often found in folds of the skin.

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Most acrochordons can be diagnosed without invasive tests. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be necessary.

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Acrochordons need to be differentiated from neurofibromas, as well as other benign skin lesions. Treatment options include the following:

    Cryotherapy

    Cryotherapy involves freezing the acrochordon so it falls off.

    Surgical Excision

    Acrochordons can be removed surgically with scissors.

    Electrosurgery

    In electrosurgery, an electric current is applied to the acrochordon to cut it off.

    Ligation

    With ligation, a suture is tied around the neck of the acrochordon to remove it.

    Prevention

    Since their cause is unclear, there is no known way to prevent acrochordons.

    RESOURCES

    American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org

    American Society for Dermatologic Surgery http://www.asds-net.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca/

    Dermatologists.ca http://www.dermatologists.ca/index.html

    References

    Gould BE, Ellison RC, Greene HL, Bernhard JD. Lack of association between skin tags and colon polyps in a primary care setting. Arch Intern Med. 1988;148:1799.

    Skin tag. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Accessed December 3, 2006.

    Skin tags. New Zealand Dermatological Society website. Available at: http://www.dermnetnz.org/lesions/skin-tags.html . Accessed December 3, 2006.

    Winton GB, Lewis CW. Dermatoses of pregnancy. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1982;6:977.

    Revision Information

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