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Dermatofibroma, also called fibrous histiocytoma, is a round benign knot of a fibrous skin tissue. The knot is red-brown in color and does not cause cancer. It is a common cutaneous nodule and occurs more often in women. It usually develops on the lower legs, and is normally asymptomatic. It is actually the most common painful skin tumor. Its removal is usually not required, unless particularly troubling symptoms are present.

Causes

The exact cause of this condition is still not known. Our skin has two main layers: the epidermis and dermis. The overgrowth of a fibrous tissue, present between the epidermis and dermis, leads to this disorder. This overgrowth of cells takes place on dermis. The condition is supposed to be the result of minor injury to skin, insect bite, etc. They are composed of spindle-shaped histiocytes and collagen. They usually grow singularly, but may form a group and develop in an irregular pattern. They are persistent in nature.

Symptoms

There is no particular symptom. They develop slowly and appear like round bumps that are mostly red-brown in color. The color gradually changes from red to dark brown. They are dark in color, in the case of dark people. They may cause itching or tenderness on pressing. Their size may vary from 5mm-10mm or more. They can develop anywhere on the body, but they are predominantly found on lower part of leg. They can bleed when fidgeted with.

Diagnosis

It can be easily diagnosed by the naked eye. The bump forms a dimple on squeezing. The doctor may review patient history and perform physical examination. If the diagnosis is still unconfirmed, a biopsy is recommended. In the biopsy, a sample of the knot is examined.

Treatment
  • This disorder does not need treatment, until it causes discomfort. Patient may be uncomfortable with the bump, since it intervenes while shaving or wearing clothing.
  • The knots do not heal by themselves, and they cannot be permanently cured.
  • However, the bumps are harmless and contrary to general belief, they do not lead to cancer. They do not cause any risk to patient's health and can be surgically removed.
  • The doctor administers local anesthesia prior to removing the knot.
  • However, the surgery can lead to the formation of a permanent a scar (a scar is formed, as it occurs deep inside the skin) in the affected area. This may look more unattractive than the presence of a knot, because the scar is larger in shape. People having this condition should avoid exposure to sun.
  • Sometimes, external medication, like cryosurgery, is also used to treat the disorder.
  • This procedure involves the use of a liquid cooling agent to be applied on the bump.
  • The liquid destroys the defected cell. Generally, liquid nitrogen is used in cryosurgery. It fixes the bump superficially, by making it unnoticeable. However, the knot is again conspicuous, after a period of time. The treatment may be repeated again.
  • The regrowth is very slight, as compared to the previous bump and can be treated again. Cryosurgery also leaves behind a white mark.
  • People having these bumps should consult a dermatologist for proper treatment. Since both the treatments leave scars, the surgery should be done only if the condition causes discomfort.
Risk Factors

As mentioned before, women are usually more susceptible to this as compared to men. The cases are mostly found in middle-aged people. It is rarely found in children.

Some Recommended Home Remedies

A useful home remedy for diagnosis is by applying camphor spirit. The bump may be treated using cellulite cream.

Dermatofibromas are common; they are harmless knots on the skin and should be ignored. It is advisable to remove them, only when they cause discomfort to the patient while shaving/ clothing.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.