Definition of Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic Keratosis is a condition in which noncancerous (benign) growths arise on the skin. The lesions resemble warts though appear pasted on rather than attached to the skin. The lesions are most commonly brown or black, though may be yellow, gray, tan, or other colors. Seborrheic keratosis becomes increasingly common in people age 40 and older.

Most people develop multiple lesions. The lesions cause no symptoms beyond their presence, unless frequent irritation causes them to itch, hurt, or bleed.

Removal and Treatment

Seborrheic keratosis requires medical assessment only to ascertain that the lesions are not cancerous, which typically is apparent on the basis of their appearance and history. The doctor should biopsy any lesions that are questionable. There is no medical reason to remove the lesions once diagnosed, however, as they do not turn malignant.

People sometimes want lesions removed that are cosmetically undesirable or in locations where they receive frequent irritation such as from clothing. Cryotherapy (freezing), curettage and electrodesiccation (scraping and burning), and shave excision (cutting out; requires no sutures) are the most common methods of removal. Though removed lesions do not recur, others may grow nearby.


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