Noncancerous, Precancerous and Cancerous Tumors

Picture of Seborrheic Keratosis

Picture of Seborrheic Keratosis

Seborrheic keratoses are bumpy, waxy-appearing skin growths that are typically brownish in color but may range from tan to blackish. These benign growths often have a wart-like appearance. Seborrheic keratoses most commonly appear in middle age or later. The growths occur mostly on the back, neck, chest, face, or scalp. Seborrheic keratoses tend to run in families.

The condition is not dangerous, but the growths may be become irritated when rubbing up against clothing. Others may progress to resemble skin cancer. In these cases, or when the appearance of the seborrheic keratosis bothers a patient, removal of the growth may be warranted.

The lesions can be removed in a variety of ways. Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen to freeze off the growth. The nitrogen is applied with a spray gun or the tip of a cotton swab. A crusty scab forms after the procedure and it falls off within a few days to weeks. The doctor may also use curettage to remove a seborrheic keratosis. This procedure uses a special tool to shave off the growth at skin level. No stitches are required and there is minimal bleeding. Electrosurgery uses a special tool to burn off the growth. The skin under a seborrheic keratosis may be lighter compared to the surrounding skin. Seborrheic keratoses do not recur after they are removed.

Image reprinted with permission from, 2009

Text Reference: "Seborrheic Keratoses." American Academy of Dermatology.