(Skin Tags; Fibroepithelial Polyps)
DefinitionAcrochordons are harmless skin growths that appear to hang off the skin. They are more commonly known as skin tags. Acrochordons are benign and don't require treatment. If necessary, they can be removed by your doctor.
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CausesAcrochordons consist of collagen fibers and blood vessels that are surrounded by a thin layer of skin. It is not clear what causes them.
Risk FactorsFactors that increase your risk of getting acrochordons include:
- Skin chafing and irritation
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
SymptomsAcrochordons usually appear as flesh-colored skin growths. 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. They don't cause symptoms, even after they appear.
DiagnosisYour doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Most acrochordons can be diagnosed without invasive tests. In some cases, a skin biopsy may be necessary to rule out other skin conditions.
TreatmentMost of the time, no treatment is needed and the acrochordons can be monitored. The acrochordons should be removed if they are bothering you, or if your doctor is concerned about a different skin condition.Removal options include the following:
- Surgical removal
PreventionThere are no current guidelines to prevent acrochordons.
American Academy of Dermatology
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery
Canadian Dermatology Association
Skin tag. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 13, 2013. Accessed June 3, 2013.
Skin tags. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic%5Fdisorders/benign%5Fskin%5Ftumors%5Fgrowths%5Fand%5Fvascular%5Flesions/skin%5Ftags.html?qt=&sc=&alt=. Updated June 2010. Accessed June 3, 2013.
Skin tags. New Zealand Dermatological Society website. Available at: http://www.dermnetnz.org/lesions/skin-tags.html. Updated February 6, 2013. Accessed June 3, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/22/2014
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