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Neurofibroma of Skin

Last updated Dec. 5, 2018

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

DoveMed.com

Microscopic pathology image of skin showing Cutaneous Neurofibroma.


What are the other Names for this Condition? (Also known as/Synonyms)

  • Cutaneous Neurofibroma
  • Dermal Neurofibroma
  • Sporadic Neurofibroma of Skin

What is Neurofibroma of Skin? (Definition/Background Information)

  • A Neurofibroma of Skin is a common, benign tumor that appears as a small bump on the skin. It is a nerve tumor (neurofibroma) that arises from the nerves underneath the skin surface, or subcutaneously
  • The risk factors and cause of development of Neurofibroma of Skin is unknown. In some cases, multiple tumors may indicate the presence of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1), while solitary tumors are not associated with this genetic disorder
  • Neurofibromas of Skin usually occur in young men and women. They do not present any significant signs and symptoms in most cases
  • A treatment of Neurofibroma of Skin may be undertaken, if they are of cosmetic concern to the individual. In such cases, a simple surgical excision is sufficient treatment
  • The prognosis is excellent on removal of the Neurofibroma of Skin, since it is a benign tumor. The prognosis may also depend upon the presence of any associated NF-1 (if present)

Who gets Neurofibroma of Skin? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Neurofibromas of Skin are generally found in young adults. But, they may be seen in individuals of any age group
  • Both males and females are affected and no preference for any gender is seen
  • This condition is observed worldwide; there is no ethnic or racial predisposition

What are the Risk Factors for Neurofibroma of Skin? (Predisposing Factors)

  • No definitive risk factors for Solitary Neurofibroma of Skin have been currently identified. A majority of the tumors (about 90% of them) are solitary
  • However, if more than one tumor is present, then an association with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1) is observed. NF-1 is a genetic condition that is characterized by skin pigmentation and the formation of non-cancerous tumors that affect the central nervous system

It is important to note that having a risk factor does not mean that one will get the condition. A risk factor increases ones chances of getting a condition compared to an individual without the risk factors. Some risk factors are more important than others.

Also, not having a risk factor does not mean that an individual will not get the condition. It is always important to discuss the effect of risk factors with your healthcare provider.

What are the Causes of Neurofibroma of Skin? (Etiology)

  • The exact cause and development of Neurofibroma of Skin is unknown
  • The presence of multiple neurofibromas may indicate neurofibromatosis type 1, which is an autosomal dominant genetic disorder

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Neurofibroma of Skin?

In most cases, there are no significant signs and symptoms of Neurofibroma of Skin. However, the following may be noted:

  • The neurofibroma can occur as tiny bumps just below the skin surface; solitary tumors are seen in about 90% of the cases
  • It is usually present in the head and neck or trunk region, but can be seen anywhere in the body
  • The tumors are solid, firm, and mobile (when felt by touch)
  • These benign tumors may be occasionally pedunculated (bag-like and hanging from the skin surface)
  • The skin surface around the tumors may be pale tan
  • The tumors may range in size from 2 mm to 2 cm (average size 0.5 cm)

If multiple tumors are noted, then it may occur against a background of neurofibromatosis type 1. In such cases, the associated signs and symptoms of NF-1 can be observed.

How is Neurofibroma of Skin Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of Neurofibroma of Skin may involve the following procedures and tests:

  • Complete physical examination with evaluation of medical history
  • Dermoscopy: It is a diagnostic tool where a dermatologist examines the skin using a special magnified lens
  • Wood’s lamp examination: In this procedure, the healthcare provider examines the skin using ultraviolet light. It is performed to examine the change in skin pigmentation
  • Skin biopsy: A skin biopsy is performed and sent to a laboratory for a pathological examination. The pathologist examines the biopsy under a microscope. After putting together clinical findings, special studies on tissues (if needed) and with microscope findings, the pathologist arrives at a definitive diagnosis

Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. Your healthcare provider may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to arrive at a definitive diagnosis.

What are the possible Complications of Neurofibroma of Skin?

No significant complications generally arise from Neurofibroma of Skin; however:

  • These tumors may present cosmetic concerns, in which case a surgery may be proposed
  • Complications may arise due to neurofibromatosis type 1 (if present)

How is Neurofibroma of Skin Treated?

A Neurofibroma of Skin may require no treatment, since they are generally asymptomatic. However, in case they are at a body site that causes discomfort and/or present cosmetic worries in the individual, they may be removed.

The treatment measures adopted for Neurofibroma of Skin include:

  • The healthcare provider may chose to regularly monitor the tumor, if they are asymptomatic
  • A complete surgical excision and removal can result in a cure
  • Treatment of underlying neurofibromatosis type 1 (if present) may be necessary
  • Follow-up care with regular screening and check-ups are important

How can Neurofibroma of Skin be Prevented?

Current medical research has not established a definitive way to prevent the formation of Neurofibroma of Skin.

What is the Prognosis of Neurofibroma of Skin? (Outcomes/Resolutions)

  • The prognosis of Neurofibroma of Skin is excellent on its complete excision and removal
  • Since, these are benign tumors, the prognosis is excellent, even if no treatment is provided and only periodic observation is maintained
  • The prognosis of neurofibromas associated with neurofibromatosis type 1, depends upon the severity of the signs and symptoms of the genetic disorder

Additional and Relevant Useful Information for Neurofibroma of Skin:

  • Neurofibroma of Skin is not an infectious condition and it does not spread from one individual to another
  • There is no definitive proof that certain types of diet may influence its development

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 20, 2016
Last updated: Dec. 5, 2018