It forms by clogging of the sebaceous gland duct, which in turn causes the sebum to accumulate in the gland itself and around it. A membrane, capsule, then gets formed around the accumulated sebum, containing it, and preventing it from futher expanson.
The first thing that is noticed is a painless bump in the skin, and the most common regions are the head, back, chest, genitals…
It can become inflamed very often. It then turns red, painfull and swollen. Inflammation can sometimes resolve by itself, but more often it will become a purulent infection, which can then be addressed only surgically.
Diagnosis is easily acquired by clinical examination (by eye), and by palpation of the lump itself, in order to assess the hardness and the size of the lesion. A biopsy is rarely needed.
If it doesn’t cause any discomfort or esthetic problems, it doesn’t even need to be treated.
But, if it gets infected, it is neccesary to surgically address the issue in some of the following ways:
- Punch method
Risk factors and prevention
Although atheromas appear in both sexes, they are more common among men, hence a connection with the presence of male sex hormone (testosterone) is considered to exist. The formation of atheromas is associated with extensive sun exposure and sun bed exposure, as is with minimal trauma to the skin in the affected region.
There is no known direct measure of prevention, but persons with the inclination towards formation of atheromas are advised to avoid using body care products that contain oils, because they can cause blockage of the sebaceous ducts and thus facilitate the formation of atheromas.
Also, consulting with Your doctor at a time when the atheroma is not infected or inflamed can be considered as prevention, as it will ease the treatment for the patient.
Frequently asked questions
No, but it’s our recommendation to remove them in a timely fashion because they tend to get infected and cause problems.
Is it possible to remove an atheroma on the head without a "classic excision"?
Yes, over the last couple of years, we have developed a new removal technique “through 2 mm holes”.