Definition of Tumor, sweat gland

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Sweat gland tumor: A benign (harmless) skin tumor called a syringoma that derives from cells related to sweat glands. (These particular specialized cells are scientifically referred to as eccrine.)

Normal Skin illustration - Sweat gland tumor

Syringomas tend to appear during puberty or adult life. They consist of small bumps 1-3 millimeters in diameter which form underneath the surface of the skin. The most frequent site is the eyelids and around the eyes, but other areas of the body can also be affected (arm pits, lower abdomen, vulva). There may be only one or a few lesions in a localized area or numerous lesions covering a wide area.

Syringomas more frequently affect women and do have an hereditary basis in some, but not all, cases. They are also associated with the following genetic conditions: Down syndrome (trisomy 21), Marfan syndrome, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Treatment of syringomas can be a problem due to their number and location on the eyelids and face. One method that seems to be effective and creates minimal scarring is the use of a hair removal electric needle. The needle is inserted into the lesion and short bursts of low voltage electricity destroy the tumor. A CO2 has been reported to be useful in treating these tumors (Kang WH. Dermatologic Surgery 1998 Dec;24:1370-4).


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