There are many different varieties of lumps and bumps that can appear on the surface of the skin as well as underneath the skin. While new skin growths are not unusual and most are not dangerous, it is still absolutely crucial to never ignore any form of lump or bump in hopes of it going away on its own. Seek professional assistance to assess your condition and determine the proper, effective and safest procedure to treat the lump or bump.
Some questions that will be asked in order to determine the urgency of medical attention:
- Does it hurt or is pain caused when touched?
- Is it a new lump or old lump?
- Is it part of a series of similar lumps?
- Has it changed in size, shape or color
Procedures to Examine and Remove Skin Lumps and Bumps
Most skin lumps and bumps can be easily identified with a professional clinical examination. However, there are some that are more difficult to diagnose. For some skin growths the best option is simple monitoring; once you seek evaluation from a professional. Others need to be removed and further reviewed. Sometimes patients may not want them monitored and may want them removed instead, usually for the following reasons:
- They want to send the biopsy of for analysis.
- The lump catches.
- The lump is unsightly.
There are several methods for removal of skin growths that will be performed by your doctor.
Cryotherapy is a method that using liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin growth. You may feel slight to moderate discomfort during and after the procedure for a day or two, and depending on the skin growth, several treatments may be needed for complete removal, which are typically done every 1 to 2 weeks.
Curettage is the process of scraping and burning off the growth.
Excision and stitch closure is the process of cutting out the growth and stitching the closure.
Common Lumps and Bumps
Many skin lumps and bumps can be categorised into the following: dermatofibromas, epidermal cysts, folliculitis, moles, lipomas, and keloids.
Dermatofibroma skin growths are harmless, round and have a red-brownish or purple tone. They are commonly found on the arms and legs and feel like hard lumps, and they can also be as small as a BB pellet. They may cause pain, tenderness and itching but can also be absolutely painless. These kinds of lumps and bumps are typically removed surgically or by freezing them off with cryotherapy.
Epidermal cysts are non-cancerous, and are round with a dark portion. They can become red and tender and may even produce a cheesy white discharge. Since these are formed from within the hair follicle, they are commonly found on genitals and chest but can occur in other areas as well. They are typically removed by making a small incision.
Folliculitis skin growths are the result of inflammation within the hair follicle.
They can be caused by an infection in the hair follicles, physical irritation such as shaving or a chemical reaction.Folliculitis is commonly found on the face, thighs and scalp and tends to be more common in people with diabetes, compromised immune system or obese. They are typically removed with a prescription or over-the-counter product.
Moles commonly appear brown but can also be blue, black or flesh colored, and can also appear anywhere on the skin. They are typically harmless, but can be removed with by surgical excision, liquid nitrogen, surgical shave or burning method.
Lipomas appear small and can be felt under the skin. You may also be able to ‘move’ them, and these skin growths may have a soft, rubbery consistency. They do not cause any pain and are common for those of middle age. They are typically removed with an incision.
Keloids appear as raised, dome-shaped and shiny skin growths, and can form anywhere on the skins surface. They range in colors from pink, purple and red, and can be large and unsightly. You may experience tenderness, itchiness or pain with keloids and they may be removed with excision surgery, liquid nitrogen, steroid injections or many other methods. These lumps have a high tendency for recurrence and often the first line of treatment is a steroid injection.
It is important to note that are many different kinds of lumps outside of these categories as well, and it is crucial to seek professional advice and evaluation to determine proper treatment of any skin lump or bump.