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Dermatofibroma: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis, Diagnosis

What is Dermatofibroma?

Dermatofibromas are very small benign growths in the skin which have a tendency to develop anywhere in the body usually the lower legs, upper arms, or upper back. These benign skin growths called Dermatofibromas are mostly seen in adults and very rarely in children. They are usually pink in color but may change to gray, red or brown with passage of time. Dermatofibromas are very firm and have a feeling of a small pebble or stone.

Dermatofibromas normally are painless growths but in some rare cases people may experience some itching or the nodule may be somewhat tender to touch. Normally, an individual develops only one nodule but some people have many such nodules. They can grow as large as half an inch in diameter at their maximum. How or why Dermatofibromas form is still a mystery and the cause for it is not known.

What is Dermatofibroma?

What are the Causes of Dermatofibroma?

As stated, the main cause of Dermatofibromas is not known. They tend to occur mainly in adults but can occur at all ages and they do not tend to favor any particular ethnicity but they are seen more in females than males. As of now, it is not known whether Dermatofibroma is a reactive process or is it a neoplasm. They can also be caused due to insect bites or being pricked by a thorn of a plant. Immune compromised patients tend to get it more than normal people.

What are the Symptoms of Dermatofibroma?

Dermatofibromas are minute benign lesions that can be visibly seen. They usually appear in the lower legs, upper back, or upper arms. They are usually pink in color but may change their color to gray, red, or brown with due course of time. Dermatofibromas do not grow in size with time and at maximum can grown to half an inch in diameter. Dermatofibromas are normally painless but sometimes they can be itchy and tender.

How is Dermatofibroma Diagnosed?

As the lesions of Dermatofibromas are visible, the physician can diagnose Dermatofibroma just by looking at the lesion and knowing the duration of the lesion and whether there are any other symptoms associated with it. The best way to diagnose Dermatofibromas is by gently squeezing the skin over the lesion and if this causes a dimple over the center of the lesion then the diagnosis of Dermatofibroma is confirmed. In some cases, if there is a little bit of doubt about the diagnosis a biopsy of the lesion may be recommended to rule out other conditions.

What is the Treatment for Dermatofibroma?

What is the Treatment for Dermatofibroma?

Dermatofibromas do not go away on their own, except in rare cases and moreover no treatment is totally effective for treatment of Dermatofibromas. For cosmetic reasons some people may prefer to get Dermatofibromas (lesions) removed surgically but in retrospect since some of these lesions are deep seated hence removing them surgically may leave a permanent scar which may be more bothersome for the eye.

Another procedure to remove Dermatofibroma that can be done without causing a scar is to flatten out the lesion with the skin surface so that the lesion is no longer visible. This can be done by removing the top part of the lesion through a scalpel, although there is always a chance of the lesion growing back.

Certain healthcare providers have also used freezing as an option for treatment of Dermatofibromas. This is done by using liquid nitrogen to freeze the lesion and then flatten it out to the level of the skin, although this procedure may leave a scar behind and there may be recurrence of the Dermatofibroma.

What is the Prognosis of Dermatofibroma?

Since it is a benign skin growth and has no chances of it becoming malignant hence prognosis is good even though permanent solution is not available to completely get rid of Dermatofibroma.


  1. DermNet New Zealand. “Dermatofibroma.” https://dermnetnz.org/topics/dermatofibroma
  2. MedlinePlus. “Dermatofibroma.” https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000836.htm

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 1, 2023

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