Your doctor can usually diagnose seborrheic keratosis by inspecting the growth. He or she might recommend removing the tissue so it can be examined under a microscope.
Treatment of seborrheic keratoses usually isn't necessary. You may want them removed if they become irritated, if they bleed because your clothing rubs against them, or if you simply don't like how they look or feel.
Your doctor can remove seborrheic keratoses using several methods, including:
- Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryosurgery). Cryosurgery can be an effective way to remove seborrheic keratoses. It doesn't always work on raised growths, and it may lighten treated skin.
- Scraping the skin's surface with a special instrument (curettage). Sometimes curettage is used along with cryosurgery to treat thinner or flat growths. It may be used with electrocautery.
- Burning with an electric current (electrocautery). Electrocautery can be effective in removing seborrheic keratoses. It can be used alone or with curettage. This procedure can leave scars if it's not done properly, and it may take longer than other removal methods.
- Vaporizing the growth with a laser (ablation). Different types of laser treatments are available to treat seborrheic keratoses.
Preparing for your appointment
You're likely to start by first seeing your primary care doctor. In some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred directly to a specialist in skin diseases (dermatologist).
Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to be well-prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
For seborrheic keratosis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Are tests needed to confirm the diagnosis?
- What is the best course of action?
- Will the lesions go away on their own?
- What suspicious changes in my skin should I look for?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions that come up during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first notice the skin lesions?
- Have you noticed multiple growths?
- Have you noticed any changes in the growth?
- Is the condition bothersome?
- Do any family members also have this condition?
Oct. 13, 2016
- Seborrheic keratosis. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/bumps-and-growths/seborrheic-keratoses. Accessed June 16, 2016.
- Seborrheic keratoses. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. http://www.aocd.org/?page=SeborrheicKeratoses. Accessed June 17, 2016.
- Roh NK, et al. Clinical and histopathological investigation of seborrheic keratosis. Annals of Dermatology. 2016;28:152.
- Goldstein BG, et al. Overview of benign lesions of the skin. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 17, 2016.
- Phulari RGS, et al. Seborrheic keratosis. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 2014;18:327.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Benign neoplasms and hyperplasias. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed June 18, 2016.