Back to Library
Dermal lesions due to abnormal blood vessels
are common, most being developmental malformations rather than true neoplasms}
The most frequently seen vascular lesions in the dermis are hamartomatous, and
the most common examples include capillary haemangioma, cavernous haemangioma
and port-wine stain.
Capillary haemangiomas are common in babies (strawberry naevus) and are usually
located on the trunk, buttocks or face. They are not present at birth, but
manifest in the first few months of life; they spontaneously enlarge and then
regress over the first couple of years of life. These firm, dark pink tumours
protrude from the surface of the skin and are usually 2-3 cm in diameter.
Cavernous haemangiomas are clinically similar to capillary haemangiomas,
occurring in the same location and in the same group. However, they tend to be
larger, less clearly defined, and show no tendency to involution.
Port-wine stain usually presents at birth as a flat, purplish red or pink
area on the face and neck. It occasionally arises on the limbs. These lesions
show no tendency to regress and may continue to grow; they are sometimes
associated with intracerebral vascular malformations (Sturge-Weber syndrome).
Pyogenic granuloma is a common, raised, red, vascular-looking lesion.
Histologically it appears to be composed of highly vascular granulation tissue
with inflammatory cells in the stroma. Often showing surface ulceration, they
grow rapidly up to 1-2 cm in a matter of weeks until they are pedunculated red
nodules. They are most common on the head and neck, and also involve the buccal
and gingival mucosa, particularly in young pregnant women. They also occur on
the limbs, particularly around the lower arms and hands, and there is sometimes
a history of penetrating trauma.
The most important true tumours of vascular origin in the skin are glomus tumour,
angiosarcoma and Kaposi's sarcoma
Glomus tumours most commonly occur in the fingers, particularly underneath the
fingernails. They are small, reddish nodules (sometimes slightly blue), which
are exquisitely tender particularly when pressed, but may also be spontaneously
painful. They are derived from special arteriovenous anastomoses called 'glomus
bodies', which are most frequently found in the hands.
Angiosarcoma is a highly malignant tumour in the skin. It is usually seen in
elderly people, arising mainly in the head and neck region, particularly the
scalp and forehead. Lesions appear as slightly raised purplish red patches or
plaques, which spread and then undergo ulceration.
Kaposi's sarcoma was formerly uncommon in the Western World, being mainly
confined to Central Africa. However, occasional cases were seen in elderly
Caucasians, usually men, and principally in the hands and feet.
Kaposi's sarcoma has become a much more important tumour because of its high
incidence in young adults (mainly males) who have AIDS; in this group the
lesions are often multiple and grow rapidly, sometimes involving the oral
mucosa, with a tendency to metastasize widely. They usually begin as a small,
reddish patch, which enlarges and becomes a raised plaque or nodule.
Histologically the tumour has a pattern of vascular channels surrounded by
spindle-cell stroma with variable pleomorphism. The cell of origin of this
tumour is in dispute, but it is probably derived from the endothelial cells of
blood or lymphatic vessels.
Fibrous histiocytic tumours are the most common true tumours of the dermis
The cell of origin is considered to be the myofibroblast, a connective tissue
cell that shows features of smooth muscle and fibroblast, together with some
Fibrous histiocytic tumours arise most commonly on the limbs in middle-aged
adults, and are slightly more common in women. The lesions are solitary raised
nodules, usually brownish in colour, and the overlying epidermis may show some
thickening and hyperkeratosis.
The most common histological pattern is that of dermatofibroma in which the
dermal nodule is ill defined and composed of spindle-shaped myofibroblasts which
lies between dermal collagen bands, expanding the dermis. Of the two less common
variants, one (histiocytoma cutis) contains a much higher proportion of
lipid-filled histiocytic cells, giving the lesion a yellow colour on cut
surface; this is particularly common around the ankle. The other variant, the
so-called 'sclerosing haemangioma' is more densely sclerotic, with increased
numbers of vessels. Often haemosiderin from leaked blood gives the lesion a
brownish cut-surface appearance.
Dermal fibrous histiocytic tumours of this type are entirely benign, but there
are two tumours with histological similarities, which behave as malignant
tumours. Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans is a much larger, slowly growing dermal
tumour, which is irregular in outline and has multiple nodules within it.
Malignant fibrous histiocytoma is one of the most common soft tissue tumours
affecting the deep tissues (particularly of the thigh and buttock), but some
malignant fibrous histiocytomas appear to arise in subcutaneous fat and may
initially present as a deep skin tumour.
Non-neoplastic fibrous lesions of the dermis are common
The most common non-neoplastic fibrous lesions of the dermis are keloids. These
occur as raised, firm, collagenous lesions, which are often covered by smooth,
rather thin epidermis. They grow slowly and become harder with time.
usually found around the head, neck, upper chest and upper arms of young people
(there is a female preponderance), and young women of Afro-Caribbean origin are
particularly prone. Lesions follow a history of trauma, e.g. keloids on the
earlobe are commonly the result of ear piercing, and keloidal change in surgical
scars is an important cosmetic problem in the areas of the body where keloid
change tends to occur.
They probably represent excessive reactive collagen formation by fibroblasts
after trauma, with the proliferation of fibroblasts and collagen deposition
extending beyond the original site of trauma. In this way they are distinguished
from hypertrophic scarring, in which a slowly resolving scar remains localized
to the area of trauma.
Neurofibromas may be solitary or multiple; neurilemmoma is a solitary tumour
Neurofibromas are characteristically soft, raised, fleshy dermal tumours, which
are often pedunculated.
In von Recklinghausen's disease there are large numbers of such tumours in many
areas of the skin, and similar lesions are present in the internal organs. They
are complex benign tumours containing Schwann cells, but elements of endoneurium
and perineurium are also present; they are sometimes considered to be
hamartomatous malformations. Malignant change may occasionally supervene in one
of the larger skin tumours in von Recklinghausen's disease, but the solitary
tumours are benign.
Neurilemmomas are solitary tumours of the Schwann cells of peripheral nerves,
and usually lie in the line of a peripheral nerve. They are usually located in
the sub-cutis rather than the dermis. They occur in middle-aged adults, with
equal sex incidence, and are mainly seen on the limbs and head and neck. They
are benign, but may undergo degenerative change if long-standing (ancient
Leiomyomas in the skin are derived either from the walls of dermal vessels or
from arrector pili muscles. They present as raised, red lesions, up to 1 cm
across, and are both painful and tender. Those derived from arrector pili may be
multiple and usually arise on the trunk and limbs in young adults; those derived
from blood vessel smooth muscle are usually solitary, and may be larger than 1
cm in diameter.
The most common lymphoma to present in the skin is cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL)
B-cell lymphoma in the skin usually occurs as part of a systemic lymphoma. It
manifests either as a solitary, raised, reddish purple nodule or as a series of
coalescing nodules, particularly in the head and neck.
T-cell lymphoma may present in the skin, sometimes remaining in the skin for
many years before becoming systematized. The florid lesions of T-cell lymphoma
in the skin are known as 'mycosis fungoides', appearing as multiple, raised, red
nodules or indurated plaques. However, many patients have a long history of red
skin patches with a wrinkled, scaly surface (often for many years), which
occasionally become slowly more raised to form reddish confluent plaques.
Histologically these are manifestations of infiltration of upper dermis and
epidermis by increasing numbers of malignant T-lymphocytes and are known
respectively as the 'patch' and 'plaque' stages of CTCL.
By the time the patient has developed a nodular lesion of mycosis fungoides, the
dermis contains nodular infiltrates of malignant T-lymphocytes.
Some patients with CTCL present with general widespread reddening of the skin (erythroderma),
and a few of them have lymphadenopathy and malignant T-lymphocytes in the
peripheral blood (S؛zary's syndrome).
There are many conditions that mimic CTCL both clinically and histologically,
and the diagnosis of the disease may be difficult until the late stages, when
plaques and nodular tumours are prominent.
Interested in translating health topics to somali language!
We give here simplified and accurate information about the disease
DISCLAIMER: This website is provided for
general information and it's run by medical students for medical students only
and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. We are not responsible
or liable for any diagnosis or action made by a user based on the content of
this website. We are not liable for the contents of any external websites
listed, nor do we endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised
on any of the sites. Always consult your own doctor if you are in any way
concerned about your health