Can I Have Dematofibromas and Scar Removal Advice?

I have two dermatofibromas on my lower leg. My dermatologist said just leave them alone. They are each a little smaller than a dime, brownish red, raised. I had a melanoma removed on my thigh. I was left with a scar that is red,slightly raised and 1" square. Is there anything I can do to be rid of these areas? Should I have them cut out? I have tried Retin-A, Urix lotion, and one IPL treatment. So far nothing has worked. Please help, I am 5'10" and my legs are my best feature. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 5

Surgery for dermatofibroma

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Dermatofibromas often get larger over time.  I think it's a good idea to remove them when they are small.  The round, red and raised dermatofibroma will be replaced with a less obvious linear scar that will hopefully end up flat and faded after it has matured. 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Only surgical removal will help a dermatofibroma.

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Drmatofibromas are very characteristic in appearance.  All the bleaching creams and light therapy won't help them.  If there is any doubt about it's identity (which is seldom), it should at least be biopsied for histologic confirmation.  Most dermatofibromas are easily excised and leave scars that are aesthetically better than the lesion.  However, there is never a guarantee.

Removal of dermatofibromas

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Dermatofibromas are deep benign skin tumors and surgical removal (which is really the only effective treatment) often leaves the patient with a scar. I , typically, advise patients to not remove a dermatofibroma. Surgical removal of dermatofibromas is scarring and other treatments generally are ineffective.

Steven Hacker, MD
West Palm Beach Dermatologic Surgeon

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First, be very careful that a melanoma does not masquerade as a dermatofibroma. Make sure that, if you have a new lesion, pigmented or not, you seek the counsel of your dermatologist.

Any topical medication, including Eurax and Retin A will not do a thing. Hopefully, the IPL treatment was done for other reasons than to rid you of the dermatofibroma. If not, you were taken.

A safe and effective technique which often ( and did not say always) works, is the following. The area is numbed and a 2 mm punch biopsy is done. This is sent to pathology to ensure thaqt you have a benign lesion. Then the area is treated with fairly vigorous cryotherapy. ( If you have dark skin this will take the pigmentation out so this is not a good idea among darker complected). Oftentimes, this will make the dermatofibroma resolve.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

Dermatofibromas are difficult to remove without a scar.

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Legs by nature tend to make worse surgical scars than other areas of the body, especially below the knee. It may be possible to revise the older excision scar on the thigh, because after it has had time to settle, the scar tissue may be re-excised and re-sutured with less tension than the original, but there will still be a scar, even if improved.

On the shins and calves, small dermatofibromas can be excised, but you should understand that you will be trading a small bump for a true linear surgical scar that may be three times as long as the dermatofibroma is wide. If enough tissue isn't cut out (with a long enough final scar) the dermatofibroma may actually recur in the scar. Since lower legs don't necessarily heal perfectly with thin, tiny scars, the excision scar may be noticeable. You may still prefer this to the original growth, but just be ready for it.

Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.