Last reviewed by Dr.Mary on August 7th, 2018.

What is Dermatofibroma?

Dermatofibroma, also known as histiocytomas are noncancerous skin growths which are quite common. They are firm to hard and can be tender. These bumps or growths normally continue for life and may heal to become depressed like scars after several years. Sometimes, dermatofibromas found grouped in large numbers of linear clusters are seen linked with immune disturbances such as HIV, leukemia as well as lupus.

Dermatofibromas are usually small and pea size and occur either on the skin of the legs or the arms. They can range in color from yellow-brown to dark red or reddish brown. They are composed of spindle cells or histiocytes in association with collagen.

Dermatofibroma Causes

It is not certain what the exact cause of dermatofibroma is because of its nature of being persistent. The possible reasons include:


An injury to the skin which is minor such as a prick from a thorn can lead to dermatofibroma.

Insect bite

A bite of an insect can even cause it.


Women are more likely to have this condition than men.


Usually, this condition develops in middle-aged adults but rarely found in children.


Family history may also cause dermatofibroma although this is debated in the medical community.

Symptoms of Dermatofibroma

Some important symptoms of dermatofibroma include:

  • Usually found on the lower legs but can be on the arms or trunk
  • Raised from the skin and bleed if damaged
  • Vary in size – small as a BB pellet but as large as a fingernail
  • Dimple inward when pinched
  • Darker for individuals with dark skin
  • Color may change over time
  • The pink, red, gray, brown or purplish patches can be seen on the affected area of skin
  • Usually painless but can be tender, itchy or painful
  • Develop gradually generally over several months
  • Be 5 mm to 10 mm across, rarely any bigger
  • Have a shiny, dull or scaly surface

If you develop any lump with the symptoms mentioned above, you might want your doctor to examine it. He or she will make the diagnosis by sight as well as touch. The doctor will also squeeze the skin over the lump – when squeezed together, a dimple will form. If there is any doubt about the bump, it can be surgically removed. The removed tissues are then examined by microscope.

If you have any new skin growth, it is wise to let your physician make an accurate diagnosis especially if you have any lesion which either changes color or is dark black or brown. If the growth bleeds, becomes painful or grows quickly then you need to see your physician immediately.

Treatment and Removal

Dermatofibromas are really best ignored. But if the diagnosis is uncertain, a small piece of tissue needs to be removed for laboratory analysis.

Treatment of dermatofibromas can be considered if they get in the way becoming irritated by clothing or get in the way of shaving.

There are two primary methods for removing a dermatofibroma:

  1. Surgical method – Dermatofibroma can be removed surgically, but because they are very deep, this normally leaves a scar.
  2. Freezing – Liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze and destroy only the upper portion of the growth.

Since a dermatofibroma grows so deep, total removal surgically requires cutting it below the surface level of the skin. This method normally leaves a very noticeable scar. Alternatively, the nodule can be flattened to the surface of the skin by shaving the top with a surgical knife or by freezing with liquid nitrogen. With both treatments, the top layers are destroyed but the layers which are deeper remain. The nodule can grow back after several years. If the lesions grow back or bleed, or if there is any fear that it could be skin cancer, the growth needs to be biopsied or removed again.

Since these lesions are not dangerous and are not a condition which is painful, it is best to leave the bump alone. A hot damp cloth may be placed over the bump to encourage some healing, but this is also underneath deliberation as to its usefulness. Bumps are not often medically treated unless the bump is in a bad location cosmetically or if the bump creates problems.

With the growth in the market of “Medical Tourism” hospitals, clinics as well as medical centers around the world offer Dermatofibroma Removal. The procedure is offered in India at the Moolchand Medcity where there are 400 doctors who are JCI accredited and ISO certified. This hospital treats over 7000 international patients each year as Medical Tourism becomes big business.

Dermatofibroma Pictures

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