Atheroma is a cystic neoplasm localized in the skin of the sebaceous gland.
Developed due to violations of the outflow of its secret of the gland, which, in turn, may be caused by blockage of the duct. Gradually, the secret begins to accumulate in the duct of the sebaceous gland, stretching it and forming a cavity, which gradually increases in size. The contents of the cyst include dead organic matter, keratinous particles of the epidermis, fat cells and cholesterol particles. The inner part of atheroma is lined with squamous epithelium.
Atheroma is the most common surgical disease of the skin. It occurs with the same frequency in both women and men. It is divided into true and false. In the first case, the disease develops due to the "detaching" of the epidermis cells as early as during fetal development. This pathology is genetically determined.
False atheroma develops when clogged sebaceous ducts. Under the influence of this process, a cyst is formed that contains altered sebum.
Causes of development
The occurrence of atheroma occurs due to blockage of the sebaceous duct. Because of this, its contents cannot go outside, but begins to accumulate in its skin layer. As a result, the duct begins to gradually increase in size. This can contribute to:
- Neglect of hygiene rules. Dust, sweat droplets, dirt particles and other substances that settle on the skin during the day should be removed regularly. Otherwise, blockage of the sebaceous ducts will be inevitable.
- Mechanical damage to the skin. Particles of exfoliated epithelium are able to penetrate the sebaceous gland and clog it.
- Hormonal imbalance (especially occurring on the background of increasing indicators of male sex hormones). They increase the viscosity of the subcutaneous secretion, which leads to the formation of atheromas.
- Cystic fibrosis. This pathology often causes the formation of cysts in the excretory ducts of the skin. This happens, as in the previous case, due to the increase in viscosity of the secreted fluid. But, fortunately, this disease is a rarity.
- The postmenopausal period in women is accompanied by a serious hormonal alteration, as a result of which the level of estrogen decreases. This can affect both the composition and the consistency of subcutaneous fat.
In rare cases, atheroma develops in the ear of a child. Such an anomaly is congenital. The tumor is located, as a rule, in front of the auricle, and in its shape resembles a small ball. The cause of atheroma is considered a defect in the development of the skin of the ear. But for the health of the child it is safe, and such a “ball” does not cause any other defects.
Is it possible to independently squeeze atheroma?
In no case it is impossible to press a cyst, especially if the place of its location is the head. With atheroma inflammation, the blood will actively flow to the brain, which can lead to the development of a severe pathological process.
It is also possible the formation of an abscess at the location of the cyst. Help in this situation can only be a surgeon.
Symptoms and signs of atheroma
Atheroma looks like a round soft tumor, which may have different sizes. As a rule, the tumor does not cause discomfort or pain. To the touch it is quite dense, mobile. In the center can be viewed clogged sebaceous duct.
Atheroma contains a pasty mass of whitish color. Often, such neoplasms are not single, but multiple. Sometimes the formation grows to large sizes (4-5 cm in diameter), which creates aesthetic discomfort for a person.
Atheroma can be primary (congenital) and secondary (acquired).
- Congenital atheromas are benign multiple neoplasms, the localization of which is the scalp or the scrotum in men. During palpation, their softness, density, and slight displacement towards the surrounding tissues are noted.
- Secondary atheromas are formed when the sebaceous glands of the skin expand. Disturbance of the outflow of subcutaneous fat often occurs against the background of the presence of acne or oily seborrhea. When palpation is marked compaction at the location of atheroma, there may be a slight soreness. If you look at the skin in the area of localization of the tumor, you can see that it has a pale gray-gray tint.
When exposed to predisposing factors, or when traumatizing atheroma, suppuration may occur, which can subsequently lead to a subcutaneous abscess. In this case, the patient will complain of:
- pain in the area of atheroma;
- puffiness and hyperemia of the skin;
- increased body temperature;
- general weakness and malaise.
Often the abscess is opened by itself. This process is accompanied by the release of copious amounts of fat-like contents with an admixture of pus.
Diagnosis of atheroma does not create any particular difficulties. The diagnosis is made on the basis of the patient's complaints and visual inspection of the site of the tumor. But additionally, differential diagnosis methods can be carried out to distinguish atheroma from fibroma or lipoma.
What does atheroma look like: photo before and after
If atheroma is not inflamed, then at a visual assessment it is possible to note the presence of only a slight compaction on the skin, which has a rounded shape. Localization of a cyst helps to easily view it even to the patient himself, if it is not located in the scalp or in another hard-to-reach part of the body.
Atheromas can measure from 0.5 to 20 cm in diameter, and sometimes larger. The longer a person ignores the problem, the larger the tumor formation will become.
Often, the atheroma is absolutely painless and asymptomatic, without causing any discomfort to the person. But sooner or later, lack of treatment can lead to:
- spontaneous neoplasm dissection followed by the formation of ulcers or wounds;
- the formation of a subcutaneous abscess;
- the formation of a dense capsule around the suppuration.
It is extremely rare for atheroma to be reborn into malignant skin tumors. But most doctors deny such a possibility.
The most common complication is the formation of an abscess. It can happen on the background:
- neglect of hygiene rules;
- frequent damage to the neoplasm when combing, using a hair brush, wearing hats, etc .;
- self-treatment of atheroma by dubious methods and means not agreed with the doctor;
- the presence of comorbidities - erysipelas of the skin, dermatitis, furunculosis, etc.
When atheroma begins to fester, it gradually increases in size. The skin on the surface of it acquires a red color, becomes edematous, stretches. If the cyst is superficial, you can clearly see its whitish content. There is severe pain, so that the patient is forced to consult a doctor.
Any attempts to squeeze the abscess lead to the development of abscess atheroma. The disease causes severe pain, swelling of the soft tissues around the neoplasm and an increase in lymph nodes in the area of the pathological process. At the same time, the signs of general intoxication of the organism are quite clearly manifested.
In severe cases, pathogenic bacteria from a cyst penetrate into the systemic circulation and spread throughout the body. This leads to the development of sepsis - blood poisoning. Based on this, try to squeeze atheroma independently under any circumstances should not be.
Is it necessary to treat atheroma, or can it disappear itself after a certain time? The probability of self-cleansing of a blocked sebaceous gland exists. If it is completely cleared of its contents, the cyst will noticeably decrease in size, and then disappear altogether. Such self-healing eliminates the risk of attaching a secondary infection and the development of the inflammatory process.
But such an opportunity, alas, is extremely small. Therefore, when a suspicious seal is detected on the skin, even remotely resembling atheroma, you should immediately make an appointment to see a doctor. You should not wait until the cyst enlarges or begins to fester.
Basically, atheroma is treated with an operation performed under local anesthesia. The manipulation is carried out with a large size of the neoplasm, as well as if it causes aesthetic discomfort to the person.
If the disease is uneventful, the intervention is carried out in the following ways:
- A skin incision is performed in the place where the atheroma is most prominent. Its contents are gently squeezed and removed with a napkin. After that, the tumor capsule is captured with clips and carefully removed. In some cases, scraping of the cystic cavity can be performed by using a special sharp spoon.
- An incision is made of the skin in the area of atheroma in such a way that its capsule is not damaged. The dissected skin is shifted from the neoplasm, after which the doctor, gently pressing on the edges of the wound, heals the atheroma.
- This method of treatment of atheroma is the most common. To begin with, two fringing incisions are made over the atheroma that span the cystic aperture. The edges of the skin are captured by special forceps and fixed. Along with this, the doctor introduces the branches of special surgical scissors under the atheroma with a gentle movement, after which she is thoroughly husked. After that, sutures are applied to the subcutaneous tissue with absorbable sutures. The cut skin is sutured with vertical mattress seams with a thin, atraumatic thread. Stitches are removed a week after surgery.
Note. When atheroma suppuration operation is carried out on a mandatory basis. Often the abscess is simply opened, which ensures the normal outflow of its contents.
A modern method of treatment of atheromas is laser therapy. It can be performed in 3 ways:
- Laser photocoagulation. During the manipulation, the pathological tissues completely evaporate. Healthy skin cells remain intact. It is used for ulcers, the size of which does not exceed 0.5 cm in diameter. The procedure does not require stitching. After removal of atheroma, a scab, a blood crust, forms in its place. It should never be removed or wet! The complete disappearance of the scab occurs in approximately 1-2 weeks.
- Excision of atheroma by a laser beam. The manipulation is carried out in case the abscess has reached 0.5 - 2 cm in diameter. With the help of a scalpel, the doctor makes a spindle-shaped incision above the atheroma, and a section of the soldered skin is necessarily excised. The skin flap is picked up by a special taped, and then, with the help of a focused laser beam, the shell of the abscess is slowly, gradually released. After this, stitches are applied to the fresh wound, and rubber drainage is made. The stitches are removed somewhere 8-12 days after the manipulation.
- For atheromas that are larger than 2 cm in diameter, laser evaporation of the abscess inside is used. Using a scalpel, a small spindle-shaped incision is made, then the welded area is excised. Using a dry gauze pad, purulent contents are gently removed. After that, the skin is moved apart using special hooks, and the cyst envelope is evaporated from the inside by a laser beam. At the end of the manipulation, stitches are superimposed on the wound and, as in the previous case, rubber drainage is left. Stitches are removed after 8-12 days.
It is very important to monitor the condition of the postoperative wound. During the first days after surgery, dressings are performed daily or every other day. If suppuration has occurred, rubber drainage changes regularly, and fabrics are carefully lubricated with antiseptic solutions.
The wound heals completely in about 14 days. Often, therapy is carried out on an outpatient basis. And only with severe forms of atheroma, the patient can be hospitalized in the hospital.
The stitches are completely removed only after strong connecting bridges form between the edges of the wound. The procedure is absolutely painless, and takes from 3 to 5 minutes.
In the postoperative period, the following signs are alarming:
- Sharp rise in temperature. This symptom may indicate the accession of a secondary infection. As a rule, the body temperature returns to normal 2-3 days after the removal of atheroma.
- Blood soak bandages. Such a deviation is observed in patients suffering from thrombocytopenia, as well as in people taking anticoagulants (blood thinners: Aspirin, CardiASK, Aspirin Cardio, Cardiomagnyl, etc.).
- The appearance of pus in the wound after the removal of non-inflammatory atheromas.
- The weakness of the seams or the divergence of the stitched edges of the postoperative wound. This feature may be noticed by the patient during the dressing change.
The identification of at least one of the above abnormalities should be a weighty reason to immediately consult a doctor.
In 90% of cases, reviews of the surgical treatment of atheroma are positive. Patients note that the operation is easily tolerated, does not cause pain or discomfort.
But there are also negative reviews of patients about this method of therapy for atheromas. In them, people indicate that the postoperative wound heals for a rather long time, and this process itself is accompanied by a certain discomfort. Some patients suffer from pain in the area of the treated area, besides daily dressings take a lot of time.
In addition, the reasons for the negative reviews about the surgical removal of an atheromas are the need for maximum immobilization of the part of the body where the intervention was performed, as well as cases of divergence of the sutures. Also, some patients remained unsatisfied with treatment due to the formation of postoperative sutures. Alas, to avoid their appearance is almost impossible. It can be removed only by laser polishing. This is the main cause of negative feedback from patients undergoing surgical treatment of atheroma.
Atheroma: treatment without surgery
To cure atheroma completely at home is unrealistic, since in this matter it is important to completely husk it. He can only be done by an experienced specialist - a surgeon, or a doctor who has practical skills in carrying out such manipulations.
If a person himself has some experience in performing such procedures, then, having made the correct local anesthesia, he may well remove the cyst on his own. But for this, sterile instruments must be used without fail, and it is extremely difficult to provide complete aseptic and antiseptic at home. In addition, it is important to have at hand suture accessories, which are also stored in conditions of strict sterility. And since even a competent surgeon cannot provide such conditions at home, then in fact, the independent removal of atheroma is an impossible task.
Based on this, when atheroma appears on any part of the body, it is necessary to immediately go to the hospital. It is desirable to have an operation while the tumor is small.This will make it possible to avoid making large cuts and, as a result, to prevent the formation of noticeable scars or scars.
Folk remedies help to slow the growth of cysts. But it should be borne in mind that they will not help to completely get rid of the problem. The following recipes are considered the most effective:
- Melt ram fat in a water bath. Lubricate them with atheroma several times a day.
- Freshly cut leaves of coltsfoot attach to atheroma and firmly fix. Compresses need to be changed once a day.
- Pour 2 tbsp. l burdock root 0.5 l of water and boil the mixture for 5 minutes. Strain, ready-made medicine to use for lotions is not a sore point.
- Bake a small onion in the oven and knead it in a mush. Laundry soap grate on a fine grater and mix in equal proportions with onion mass. Stir until smooth and apply to atheroma, fixing a bandage from above. The compress changes 2-3 times a day.
- Grind a few cloves of garlic and mix with a small amount of sunflower oil. Beat well and rub into a cyst with light massaging movements.
Sometimes atheroma can be formed for no apparent reason. But there are certain rules, observing which, you can avoid its appearance. In order to prevent cysts of the sebaceous gland, you must:
- follow a diet that excludes animal fats, spices, salt, refined sugars, etc .;
- regularly do hygiene procedures;
- timely eliminate acne, seborrhea, dermatitis and other skin diseases;
- identify and eradicate the causes of hyperhidrosis.
If atheroma often recurs, and operations do not help get rid of the problem, it is necessary to visit the office of the endocrinologist. It is possible that the reasons for such a deviation lie in the disruption of the functioning of the endocrine system.