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Skin tag
Skin tag


Definition:

Cutaneous skin tags are skin problems involving small, generally benign skin growths.



Alternative Names:

Skin tags; Acrochordons; Fibroepithelial polyps



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Cutaneous tags are very common benign skin growths that occur most often after midlife. The tags stick out of the skin, and may have a small narrow stalk connecting the skin bump to the surface of the skin. Cutaneous tags are usually painless and do not grow or change. However, they may be irritated from rubbing by clothing or other materials. Cutaneous skin tags are more common in people who are overweight or who have diabetes. They are thought to occur from skin rubbing against skin, so skin folds are a common location.



Symptoms:

The only symptom is a growth on the skin. The growth (tag) is usually small, although some may be up to a half-inch long.

Other characteristics are as follows:

  • Located on the neck, armpits, trunk, body folds, or other areas
  • May have a narrow stalk
  • Usually skin-colored, occasionally darker


Signs and tests:

Diagnosis is based primarily on the appearance of the skin growth.



Treatment:

Treatment is usually not necessary unless the cutaneous tags are irritating or are cosmetically displeasing. The growths may be removed by surgery, by freezing (cryotherapy ), or by electrical burn (cautery).



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Cutaneous tags are generally benign and usually not bothersome. They may become irritated or be cosmetically displeasing. There is usually no regrowth or scar formation after cutaneous tags are removed, although new growths may appear elsewhere on the body.



Complications:

There are usually no complications. Occasionally, irritation and discomfort may occur. If cut, they can bleed excessively. The skin tags may be cosmetically unsightly.



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if cutaneous tags are present and you want them removed, or if the appearance of a cutaneous tag changes.



Prevention:




Review Date: 2/5/2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Associate, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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