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What are Acrochordons?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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Acrochordons are benign growths which form on the body, especially around creases like the eyelid, groin, and armpit. While acrochordons are technically tumors, they are not a cause for concern; many healthy people have these small growths, and they are nothing to be worried about. In fact, acrochordons are considered so benign that some health insurance plans will not pay for their removal.

You may also hear an acrochordon referred to as a skin tag, referencing the fact that acrochordons look like small tabs of skin projecting from the body. The size of these growths varies, with some being smaller than a grain of rice, while others grow to be around the size of a walnut. The acrochordon may be darker than the surrounding skin in some cases, and sometimes these growths are attached to the body on a small stalk which is known as a peduncle.

Often, acrochordons appear with no known cause. In other instances, they are sometimes linked with radical hormone changes and stress. People in high-stress occupations tend to be more prone to acrochordons, as are pregnant women. If the acrochordons are caused by stress, it might be a sign that some lifestyle changes would be a good idea, as stress can cause a variety of much less benign health conditions. In the case of pregnancy-related acrochordons, women should wait until the end of the pregnancy to seek treatment, as the acrochordons may reappear.

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Depending on the location, acrochordons might be irritating, even though they are benign. These growths can get annoying when they are especially large, as they can get caught on clothing and jewelry, and they can be distracting around the eye. Some people also consider these growths to be disfiguring, especially when they appear on the face. Because of this, some people opt to have acrochordons removed.

Because these growths have nerves, a small amount of local anesthetic must be used before the acrochordon is snipped off, cauterized, or frozen. Because the growth is benign, a doctor will not generally request a biopsy, unless he or she thinks that the growth might be something other than a skin tag. Because acrochordons can sometimes resemble polyps related to more serious skin conditions, it is a good idea to bring skin tags to the attention of your doctor when you visit his or her office, so that the skin tag can be evaluated to ensure that it is benign.

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