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What is Keratoacanthoma?

Keratoacanthoma is a type of skin tumour that grows quickly and may look like skin cancer. It usually starts from a hair follicle and has a central plug of dead skin cells. It is more common in older people with fair skin and sun exposure. Keratoacanthoma may go away on its own, but it is often treated with surgery or other methods to prevent complications.


What are the signs and symptoms of Keratoacanthoma?

The signs and symptoms of keratoacanthoma are:

  • Rapid Growth: One of the hallmark features of keratoacanthoma is its rapid development. The bump can appear suddenly and grow quickly over a period of weeks to months.

  • Dome-shaped Lesion: Keratoacanthomas usually present as firm, raised, and round or dome-shaped nodules on the skin. They may resemble a volcano with a central crater filled with a white, waxy material.

  • Central Crater: At the center of the lesion, there is often a depression or crater-like indentation, which can be filled with a keratinous plug. This feature gives the lesion its name (keratoacanthoma, with “kerato” referring to keratin).

  • Color Changes: The bump may have a flesh-colored, pink, or reddish appearance. The center of the lesion may become more white or pale as it fills with keratin.

  • Pain or Itching: Keratoacanthomas can be tender, painful, or itchy, although not everyone with this condition experiences discomfort.

  • Location: Keratoacanthomas frequently occur in sun-exposed areas of the body, such as the face, neck, arms, and hands.

What treatments are available at the dermatologist for Keratoacanthoma?

Some possible treatments for keratoacanthoma that are available at the dermatologist are:

  • Surgical excision: This involves cutting away the keratoacanthoma with a surgical instrument and stitching up the wound. This is a definitive treatment that removes the entire lesion.
  • Electrodesiccation and curettage: This is also known as “scrape and burn”. It involves scraping the keratoacanthoma with a sharp instrument and then destroying the remaining tissue with an electric current. This is a quick and simple procedure that can be done in the office.
  • Cryosurgery: This involves freezing the keratoacanthoma with liquid nitrogen, which causes it to blister and fall off. This is a relatively painless and inexpensive method that can be repeated if needed.
  • Intralesional therapy: This involves injecting a medication into the keratoacanthoma, such as methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil, or bleomycin. This can help shrink the lesion and induce regression.
  • Radiation therapy: This involves using high-energy rays to kill the keratoacanthoma cells. This is usually reserved for large, multiple, or difficult-to-treat lesions that cannot be removed by other methods.
  • Topical therapy: This involves applying a cream or gel to the keratoacanthoma, such as imiquimod, 5-fluorouracil, or retinoids. This can help stimulate the immune system and reduce the size of the lesion.

The choice of treatment depends on several factors, such as the size, location, number, and appearance of the keratoacanthoma, as well as the patient’s preference, health status, and potential side effects.


FAQ About Keratoacanthoma

How is keratoacanthoma diagnosed?

Keratoacanthoma is diagnosed by removing the growth and examining it under a microscope. This is done to rule out skin cancer, such as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which can look similar to keratoacanthoma.

Is keratoacanthoma cancerous?

Keratoacanthoma is considered a low-grade or slow-growing type of skin cancer. It is benign, meaning it does not usually spread to other parts of the body or cause serious harm. However, it can be difficult to distinguish from squamous cell carcinoma, which is a more aggressive and potentially fatal type of skin cancer.

Is keratoacanthoma contagious?

No, keratoacanthoma is not contagious. It is not caused by an infection or a virus. However, some studies have suggested that human papillomavirus (HPV) may play a role in some cases of keratoacanthoma.

Is there a dermatologist near me in Grand Rapids that offers treatment for Keratoacanthoma?

Yes. At our Grand Rapids dermatology office we offer Treatment for Keratoacanthoma to patients from Grand Rapids and the surrounding area. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.