Cutaneous skin tags

Alternative Names

Skin tags; Acrochordons; Fibroepithelial polyps

Definition of Cutaneous skin tags

Cutaneous skin tags are small, usually harmless (benign) skin growths.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cutaneous tags are very common skin growths. They usually occur after midlife and are usually harmless and noncancerous (benign). The tag sticks out of the skin and may have a short, narrow stalk connecting it to the surface of the skin.

Symptoms

The only symptom is a growth on the skin. The growth (tag) is usually small, although some may be up to a half-inch long.

Signs and tests

Diagnosis is based primarily on the appearance of the skin growth. Occasionally, a biopsy may be needed to diagnose an unusual-looking skin tag.

Treatment

Treatment is usually not necessary unless the cutaneous tags are irritating or are cosmetically displeasing. The growths may be removed by surgery, by freezing (cryotherapy), or by electrical burn (cautery).

Expectations (prognosis)

Cutaneous tags are generally benign and usually not bothersome. They may become irritated or be cosmetically displeasing. There is usually no regrowth or scar formation after cutaneous tags are removed, although new growths may appear elsewhere on the body.

Review

Michael Lehrer, MD, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network; Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/11/2009

Skin tag

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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