Are you having pea-sized growths under the skin of your neck? You may be suffering from a condition called Pilomatrixoma. Know what is a Pilomatrixoma, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
Pilomatrixoma is a rare benign tumor that is composed of tissues and originates from the hair follicles. Pilomatrixoma was earlier known as “Calcifying Epithelioma of Malherbe”. It is also called ‘Pilomatricoma’ and ‘Malherbe Calcifying Epithelioma’.
Pilomatrixoma features in the list of rare diseases by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of NIH (National Institute of Health). It affects less than 200,000 people in the United States.
The word ‘Pilomatrixoma’ is a fusion of three other terms, ‘pilo’ (meaning “hair”), ‘matrix’ (indicating “intercellular substance”) and ‘oma’ (that means “tumor”). Taken together, the term Pilomatrixoma means a tumor that grows from hair follicles.
“Pilomatrixoma” is pronounced as “Pee-lo-mae-trick-so-maa”.
It usually arises on the scalp, cheek, front area of the ear, eyelids, arms and side of neck. These lesions can also be seen on the upper and lower parts of the body as well as the trunk.
Who Gets Pilomatrixoma?
The bumps are generally seen in kids below 10 years of age and women within 30 years of age. Women are twice as likely to have Pilomatrixoma tumors as men. Pilomatrixoma is found to affect white people more than others. Pilomatrixoma not only affects humans. It can also be seen in animals. Pilomatrixoma in dogs is quite common.
Most Pilomatrixoma cases have been reported in children. Lesions in Pilomatrixoma children are discovered mostly in the first two years of life. The risk of having these lesions reduces with advancing age.
Symptoms of Pilomatrixoma
Pilomatrixoma of Malherbe is mainly characterized by the appearance of firm growths on the skin surface. Sufferers usually have a single bump though multiple Pilomatrixoma growths can also be seen. The lumps are generally small, measuring less than 3 cms in diameter. The skin covering the tumors may get discolored and usually turns faint blue in appearance. The cysts may feel hard to touch.
Pilomatrixoma growths are normally painless but can hurt if they become infected. These grow very slowly in size and are composed of hair matrix that has become calcified. In some cases, these lesions are found to grow as much as 35 mm in a little over 6 months.
In rare cases, pilomatrixoma Calcifying Epithelioma of Malherbe may be associated with conditions like Skull Dysostosis, Gardner Syndrome and Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy.
Written by anirudh
on March 26th, 2011. The article was last updated on September 2nd, 2011