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Author: Clinical Associate Professor Amanda Oakley, Department of Dermatology, Waikato Hospital, 2003.
Syringomas are harmless sweat duct tumours. They are most often found in clusters on the eyelids but they may also arise elsewhere on the face, in the armpits, umbilicus, upper chest and vulva.
A syringoma is a skin coloured or yellowish firm rounded bump, one to three millimetres in diameter.
They start to appear in adolescence and are more common in women than men. There is sometimes another affected member of the family.
Eruptive syringomas appear abruptly in adult life, as a crop of multiple lesions typically on the chest or lower abdomen. Most patients with eruptive syringomas are Asian or dark skinned.
Syringoma may be confused with xanthelasma (cholesterol deposits on the eyelids), trichoepitheliomas or basal cell skin cancer.
The skin biopsy appearance under a microscope is characteristic. There are small ducts with comma-like tails, looking like tadpoles in the skin.
Syringomas are often treated by electrosurgery (diathermy) or laser. This may or may not prove successful and can result in small scars. If they recur, they can be treated again the same way.
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