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Acrochordons

(Skin Tags; Fibroepithelial Polyps)

Definition

Acrochordons 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.
Acrochordons
hanging skin tag
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, 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

Factors that increase your risk of getting acrochordons include:

Symptoms

Acrochordons 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.

Diagnosis

Your 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.

Treatment

Most 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:
  • Cryosurgery
  • Surgical removal
  • Electrosurgery
  • Ligation

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent acrochordons.

RESOURCES

American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery http://www.asds.net

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca

Dermatologists.ca http://www.dermatologists.ca

References

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.

Revision Information

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