II. Definitions

  1. Skin Tag (Acrochordon, Fibroepithelial Stromal Polyp)
    1. Benign epidermal hyperplastic lesion (Skin Tag)

III. Epidemiology

  1. Very common (occurs in 25% of adults)
  2. Increasing Prevalence with age (esp. over age 50 years)

IV. Risk factors

  1. Obesity
  2. Advancing age
  3. Pregnancy
  4. Metabolic Syndrome

V. Pathophysiology

  1. Develops in regions of increased skin friction and irritation
  2. Lesion of mesenchymal origin
  3. Hormone Sensitive

VI. Signs

  1. Characteristics
    1. Usually pedunculated (narrow stalk) but may be sessile
    2. Flesh-color to brown
    3. Typically 2-5 mm in size (may be up to 1 cm, up to 20 cm in rare cases)
    4. May ulcerate or erode, bleed or have discharge with irritation
  2. Distribution
    1. Axilla
    2. Neck
    3. Inguinal area
    4. Vulva

VII. Differential Diagnosis

  1. Pedunculated intradermal nevus
  2. Seborrheic Keratosis
  3. Neurofibroma
  4. Nevoid Basal Cell Carcinoma syndrome
    1. Skin Tags seen in childhood
    2. Only indication to send Skin Tags for histology
    3. Chiritescu (2001) J Am Acad Dermatol 44:789-94 [PubMed]


  1. Pathology is indicated in only atypical lesions
    1. Send one specimen per jar

IX. Management

  1. Indications for excision
    1. Local irritation
    2. Cosmesis
    3. Biopsy if present in childhood (see above)
  2. Techniques for destruction
    1. Refer those with Eyelid involvement
    2. Local Anesthesia only required for larger lesions
      1. Cut quickly in one stroke if not using Local Anesthesia
    3. Pedunculated Skin Tags
      1. Excise with iris scissors
        1. Apply topical Aluminum Chloride (e.g. Drysol) for coagulation
      2. Electrodesiccation
        1. Electrocautery at lesion base
        2. Preferred over cautery in darker skinned patients
      3. Cryotherapy (for small Skin Tags)
        1. Exercise caution in patients with darker skin
        2. Consider using an ear speculum to focus Cryotherapy on lesion
    4. Sessile Skin Tags
      1. Shave excision

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