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What is Syringoma

Syringomas are small benign tumors. They are usually found on your upper cheeks and lower eyelids. Though rare, they may also occur on your chest, abdomen, or genitals. These harmless growths result when the cells from your sweat glands are overactive. They usually begin to develop in young adulthood but can occur at any age.

Syringoma is harmless sweat duct benign growth, typically found clustered on eyelids, although they may also be found in the armpits, umbilicus (belly button), and other parts of the body. When these benign lesions are not located in on the periorbital region they are referred to as Eruptive Syringomas.  The name syringoma is derived from the Greek word syrinx, which means pipe or tube. The name suggests the exact problem of the condition which is a benign overgrowing of the sweat tubes cells on the epidermal part of the skin.

It is important to emphasize that Syringomas are benign lesions and do not pose any threat to health. Therefore they can be left untreated and they are only removed for cosmetic reasons. Normally people seek to have only periorbital Syringomas removed because they are the most visible and the most difficult to conceal with makeup.

Skin Cross Section Labeled

Skin Cross Section Labeled

The left hand side picture is used to illustrate in which layer of the skin Syringoma are developed. As mentioned above, Syringomas are found on the epidermis and are small benign growths of the final part of the sweat duct tubes on the epidermis.

Syringomas come in many different shapes and colors, they can be oval, dome-shaped or round. Their size can vary from syringoma to syringoma. Periorbital Syringomas can be both clustered unevenly in one region only or quite well distributed throughout the area of the skin around the eyes or the eyelids.

The word Syringoma is normally associated with the small plaques around the eyes. However, it has to be remembered that the often appear on any other part of the body (Eruptive Syringomas). The reason for the association of Syringoma to a periorbital skin condition (which means a condition developed “around the eyes”) is due to the fact that people seek help to have them removed especially when they develop around the eyes.

Periorbital Syringoma are skin-colored or yellowish firm rounded bumps, 1-3 mm in diameter, and they are often confused with xanthelasma, because of their color as well as their presence around the eyes.

Syringoma can appear at any age, though they usually occur after puberty. Syringoma can develop in people of any race and gender,  females seem to be more affected than males. This may not be due to the condition actually affecting more women than men, rather because women are generally more self-conscious than men and seek help more often.

Most Common Locations

  • Upper cheeks
  • Lower eyelids
  • Armpits
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Forehead
  • Genitalia (penis or vulva)

Click to Read more about Signs and symptoms of syringomas

Click here

In the bottom picture, you can see the classic periorbital Syringoma. In this case, these lesions are easily recognized as Syringoma given their skin like the color and their clustered formation.

Syringoma are believed to be of familial origin. Around 18% of people with Down syndrome have syringoma. People with diabetes are more likely to have a syringoma type known as clear cell syringomas.

Syringomas around the eyes or Periorbital Syringomas

Eruptive syringomas appear abruptly in adult life, as a crop of multiple lesions typically on the chest or lower abdomen. Most people with eruptive syringoma are Asian or dark skinned.

The skin biopsy appearance under a microscope is characteristic. There are small ducts with comma-like tails, looking like tadpoles in the skin.

Periorbital Syringoma

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