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Acrochordons
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Acrochordons

(Skin Tags; Fibroepithelial Polyps)

En Español (Spanish Version)

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

© 2008 Nucleus Medical Art, 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/english

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.



Last reviewed February 2008 by Jill Landis, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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