By Gary M. White, MD


The dermatofibroma is a very common benign fibrous growth or tumor of the skin, occurring most commonly on the leg.


These dermal papules most commonly present on the leg of an adult woman. They are usually brown, but may be flesh-colored or black. A variant called a Hemosiderotic Dermatofibroma may contain significant iron and appear blue/black. Sometimes they occur on the upper back or arm. Squeezing them between the thumb and forefinger produces a dimpling that is characteristic. Multiple dermatofibromas may rarely occur.

The atrophic DF [An Bras Dermatol. 2013 Sep-Oct; 88(5): 793–795.] is characterized by a flat or atrophic and depressible surface. It is frequently seen on the back of a woman. Histopathological features show reduction of the thickness of the dermis and elastic fibers.


No treatment is needed. A punch biopsy or mini-ellipse may be done. The patient must accept the possibility that the resulting scar may be no more appealing cosmetically than the original lesion.

Additional Pictures

To see if a brown lesion is a dermatofibroma (DF), squeeze it. If you can feel a dermal thickening, and the surface pulls in, it is.
Dermatofibroma Dermatofibroma

Dermatofibroma Dermatofibroma Dermatofibroma Dermatofibroma

The DF may be darkly pigmented.
Dermatofibroma Dermatofibroma

Pedunculated or papulonodular dermatofibromas.
Dermatofibroma Dermatofibroma

The atrophic variant of the dermatofibroma, common on the Back.
Atrophic Dermatofibroma Atrophic Dermatofibroma

This raised DF on a woman's leg was constantly cut shaving. A scoop shave was performed with excellent results.

Multiple Dermatofibromas (>15)
Multiple Dermatofibromas

A hemosiderotic dermatofibroma with a bluish hue.
Hemosideratoic dermatofibroma

The term fibrous histiocytoma is sometimes used for larger, nodular lesions analogous to the dermatofibroma.
Dermatofibroma Dermatofibroma


DFs may occur on the fingers. Dermatology Online Journal 17(8)


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