It is known that papillomas, condylomas, warts and many other skin neoplasms appear as a result of infection with HPV – papillomavirus infection. However, not all epidermal growths are of viral origin.
Some of them, such as basal cell papilloma, are most often formed on the body of older people and this is more associated with the physiological aging of the body. In fact, this is a slowly growing benign growth. Such a papilloma is harmless, but regular medical monitoring is necessary – it is dangerous that exposure to unfavorable factors can provoke the development of basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer that can be treated well).
What is basal cell papilloma
Seborrheic keratosis, senile wart, keratoma, keratopapilloma, all these are synonyms of the same skin neoplasm – basal cell papilloma.
A growth is formed from epidermal cells, intraepidermal horny cysts, as well as melanin, and develops slowly over several years. Pathology can be single and multiple in nature – sometimes in elderly people, characteristic spots cover most of the body (the pathology is called hyperkeratosis).
Neoplasms can be in the form of papules or flat, clearly defined spots protruding slightly above the skin. Size varies from a few millimeters to 4-6 centimeters in diameter. Men and women over 50 are equally susceptible to the appearance of such papillomas.
The color of the growths depends on the concentration of melanin in them – it is pale yellow, brown and almost black. As they develop, the papules begin to horn, their surface is covered with dense crusts, the thickness of which can reach 2 cm. There is severe dryness, plaques crack, peel, even crumble – this is a keratotic version of basal cell papilloma.
What triggers the appearance of growths
To date, the causes of such neoplasms are still being studied. However, scientists are inclined to believe that basal cell growth is a consequence of age-related changes in the body (metabolic disorders, hormonal disruptions, decreased immune defense, etc.).
A version of genetic inheritance is also considered, since in some people the first characteristic papules begin to appear at the age of 35-40 years (sometimes earlier). Over time, the number and size of spots increases, this is associated not only with aging processes, but also with the effect of ultraviolet radiation on human skin.
If the cell growth is not removed in a timely manner, it gradually progresses, turning into a large keratinized area.
Stages of the development of pathology
External signs of basal cell papilloma vary depending on the stage of development.
- At the initial stage, one or more flat spots appear. The surface of the growth can be glossy or somewhat rough. Gradually, it becomes covered with a thin scaly crust – epidermal cells become keratinized.
- The second stage is characterized by slight growth and the conversion of spots to papules (slightly protrude above the skin). To the touch, this is a dense, rough neoplasm resembling a wart.
- At the third stage, the growth changes – it grows, changes color to a darker shade, becomes covered with a rather dense stratum corneum, if it is injured, bleeding that does not heal ulceration opens – a keratotic variant of basal cell papilloma develops.
- The fourth stage is characterized by the presence of thick rapidly hardening and crumbling crusts, which often come off, exposing the wound. There is a high risk of infection, so treatment is mandatory.
Diagnosis and treatment methods
Characteristic external signs enable an experienced doctor to determine the type of neoplasm even at a visual examination. If the dermatologist suspects malignancy (there is inflammation, pain and other unpleasant symptoms), the patient is sent for a biopsy. The final diagnosis is established by the results of the tests.
Drug therapy with respect to basal cell growths is powerless, hardware removal is necessary here. The most commonly used laser, radio wave technique, electrocoagulation. If the lesion is extensive, resort to surgical excision with a scalpel.
Innovative techniques include laser and radio wave destruction. The procedures are performed under local anesthesia, the duration of the intervention is no more than 20 minutes. After exposure, subtle traces may remain, but usually they disappear with time. In the process of removal, there is simultaneous coagulation of blood vessels, which helps to avoid bleeding and infection of the wound (the surface is covered with fibrin, which does not pass the infection).
The method of electrocoagulation has been used for a long time (effectiveness is confirmed by time). The growth is burned out by alternating high-frequency current. There is also a simultaneous coagulation of blood vessels, however, minor scars remain after exposure. The probability of relapse is minimal.
Modern techniques allow to remove unwanted skin neoplasms in a short time, painlessly and permanently. By promptly seeking help, you will not only eliminate the aesthetic problem, but also prevent a possible process of malignancy.