Author: Dr Ebtisam Elghblawi, Dermatologist, Tripoli, Libya. DermNet New Zealand Editor in Chief: Hon A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, October 2017.
A solitary cutaneous neurofibroma is a common nerve sheath tumour. It presents as a skin-coloured, soft to firm papule or nodule with a smooth surface. Characteristically, pressing on the lesion causes it to invaginate with the finger, a manoeuvre called "button-holing."
Neurofibroma is usually diagnosed in young adults. As neurofibromas persist, they may also be diagnosed in older or younger people. It is equally prevalent in males and females.
No definitive risk factors have been identified for solitary neurofibroma, which is not inherited.
The cause of solitary neurofibroma is unknown.
Solitary neurofibroma usually arises in second or third decade of life and is located on skin of head and neck, trunk or proximal limbs. Characteristics are:
The diagnosis of solitary neurofibroma may be suspected from its typical clinical features, in the absence of significant signs and symptoms of neurofibromatosis. A neurofibroma is featureless on dermoscopy, distinguishing it from a smooth-surfaced dermal naevus (which usually shows some areas of pigmentation).
Note that a solitary plexiform neurofibroma (which mostly presents as a bag-like mass on the trunk or proximal extremities) is pathognomonic for neurofibromatosis type 1.
Unlike neurofibromatosis, any concern about solitary neurofibroma is purely cosmetic.
Solitary neurofibroma is a benign tumour and rarely requires any treatment. If there is discomfort, diagnostic uncertainty, or cosmetic concern, it can be surgically excised.
See the DermNet NZ bookstore.
© 2019 DermNet New Zealand Trust.
DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service. If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.