Common Biopsy Results

If you have been to our office as a patient, you may have had a skin biopsy performed, which is a common dermatologic procedure.  The following are descriptions of common pathology results for skin biopsies, for benign lesions.  Please call our office for specific detailed information on your particular results, if you have additional questions.

Actinic Keratosis    |   Angioma    |   Blue Nevus    |   Cyst    |   Dermatofibroma    |   Fibrous Papule |   Folliculitis    |   Grover’s   |   Lentigo    |   Lichen Plaus-Like Keratosis    |   Milium    |   Neurofibroma    |   Nevus    |   Pyogenic Granuloma    |   Seborrheic Keratosis    |   Skin Tag    |   Verruca Vulgaris

Actinic Keratosis

(another name is solar keratosis)
Actinic Keratosis is a pre-cancer, a sun damaged growth. Actinic keratosis is not a skin cancer yet, but a certain percentage of these may go on to develop into a skin cancer. An actinic keratosis generally does not need to be surgically treated. Treatments include freezing with liquid nitrogen, applying a topical medication or photodynamic therapy. Often, the biopsy will remove the actinic keratosis, but if any roughness or lesion remains when the biopsy has healed, the area should be reexamined in the office.

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Angioma

(another name is hemangioma)
An angioma is a benign growth made up of blood vessels. Angiomas often appear as small red bumps on the skin. If desired, angiomas can be electively, cosmetically treated with the V beam laser, or electric needle.

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Blue Nevus

A blue nevus is a type of benign mole. This type of mole usually has a dark, blue-black color. It is made up of mole (nevus) cells. It is not cancerous. Often, the biopsy does not remove all of the mole cells, and the mole can regrow. As long as the mole was not atypical, the regrowth is harmless. However, if you are ever concerned with the appearance, you should return to the office for a recheck.

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Cyst

A cyst is a benign structure made up of an in-pouching of a hair follicle. Cysts are filled with dead skin material surrounded by a cyst wall.

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Dermatofibroma

A dermatofibroma is a benign, scar-like growth. It often appears like a firm, dimpling, brownish or reddish growth. Common locations are the arms and legs. It is thought that a dermatofibroma can form in susceptible individuals after a pimple, insect bite, shaving cut, or other injury to the skin.

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Fibrous Papule

(another name is angiofibroma)
A fibrous papule is a benign growth made up of blood vessels and scar-like tissue. It often appears like a small, dome-shaped bump. A common location is the nose.

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Folliculitis

Folliculitis is inflammation of one or more hair follicles. The condition can occur anywhere on the skin. It can be caused by bacteria, yeast, irritation, cosmetics, or simply from inflammation. If you continue to have outbreaks, please schedule a follow up visit in our office for evaluation and treatment.

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Grover's

(another name is transient acantholytic dermatosis)
This condition has rough itchy bumps, usually over the trunk. The cause is unknown. The condition is benign, but can be irritating. Usually, the condition will go away, perhaps in a few months. If you are having problems with the condition (such as itching), schedule an appointment so we can treat it.

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Lentigo

A lentigo can be thought of as a sun freckle, often referred to as a liver spot in layman's terms. Lentigos are benign, but their presence can indicate that the skin has had too much sun. Regular examinations by a dermatologist and monthly self-examinations are recommended.

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Lichen Planus-Like Keratosis

A lichen planus like keratosis is a benign inflamed keratosis, which refers to a growth of the top layer of the skin. It is believed that these can be from either inflamed seborrheic keratoses, which are benign, barnacle-like growths, or inflamed actinic keratoses, which are precancers. Usually no further treatment is necessary. If the growth persists, please make a follow up appointment so it can be checked.

 

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Milium

A milium is a benign, small cyst. The center is usually a small, hard, white ball of dead skin surrounded by a small cyst wall.

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Neurofibroma

A neurofibroma is a growth made up of benign nerve cells. Usually neurofibromas are soft, skin colored bumps. They are not cancerous and no further treatment is necessary. Rarely, a person can have a condition in which he or she has multiple neurofibromas (called neurofibromatosis). If you feel you have many more of these growths, please schedule a follow up appointment so that you can be evaluated.

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Nevus

(The following description refers to benign nevi: intradermal nevus, compound nevus, junctional nevus, congenital nevus. For a description of atypical or dysplastic nevi, read our section on "Moles".)

A nevus is also called a mole. A mole is made up of mole cells (nevus cells). Moles can be skin colored or brownish colored. They can be raised or flat. Often, the biopsy does not remove all of the mole cells, and the mole can regrow. As long as the mole was not atypical, the regrowth is harmless. However, if you are ever concerned with the appearance, you should return to the office for a recheck.

 

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Pyogenic Granuloma

A pyogenic granuloma is a growth of blood vessels, connective tissue, and inflammatory cells. It is benign. Usually, pyogenic granulomas come up rapidly as a bleeding beefy growth. Hopefully, the biopsy will have removed the pyogenic granuloma. If the growth is still present and bothersome, you can schedule a follow up appointment so that we can treat the rest.

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Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic keratosis is a benign growth. This is a growth made up of the top layer of the skin. It is usually a rough, waxy, brownish spot. It is not cancerous and no further treatment is needed. If desired, seborrheic keratoses can be electively, cosmetically treated. A person with many seborrheic keratoses may have a common metabolic condition called “Syndrome X”. This condition is caused by insulin resistance and may be helped by frequent small meals, increasing aerobic exercise and decreasing the glycemic load of the diet. Information is available in our office on “nutrition and the skin”.

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Skin Tag

(other names are fibroma, soft fibroma, benign fibroma, acrochordon)
A skin tag is simply a small “tag” of skin. Tags commonly occur around the neck and in the armpits, and are often multiple. If desired, tags can be electively cosmetically removed in a regular appointment.

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Verruca Vulgaris

Verruca vulgaris is otherwise known as a wart. This growth is benign and is caused by the wart virus (human papilloma virus, or HPV). Warts are mildly contagious, and can be a nuisance. If the wart remains after the biopsy, or you have additional warts, and you wish to have them treated, please make a follow up appointment. (Some warts in the genital areas are caused by specific strains of HPV which can lead to cancer, such as cervical cancer. Therefore, warts in these areas should be examined by your doctor or practitioner).

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