What is Syringoma & can it be treated?
A syringoma is a tumor of the sweat duct resulting from an overgrowth of part of a sweat gland on the skin. The treatment of syringoma typically involves electrocautery or laser. Syringomas most commonly appear on the lower eyelids, but may also be found on the upper eyelids and cheeks. Though uncommon, syringomas may also occur on other parts of the body like the arms, leg, trunk and the vulva. Syringoma occurs more frequently in women than men, and typically start to appear after puberty.
As syringomas are commonly mistaken for warts, ‘fat deposits’, ‘cholesterol deposits’ and milia seeds, a professional diagnosis from a dermatologist should be obtained to confirm the condition. The causes of syringoma are not well understood, although they are sometimes known to be inherited. Syringomas are not the result of lifestyle factors like diet or makeup.
Syringoma Treatment Methods
Pinpoint Electrocautery: According to Dr. Peter Vignjevic, Dermatologist, electrocautery involves the insertion of a fine needle-like electrical instrument into the syringoma to burn the tumor. The skin adjacent to the syringoma is injected with a local anesthetic (e.g. Lidocaine) to numb the area, so there is no pain or discomfort during the procedure. Electrocautery is a more precise/targeted syringoma treatment method as compared to other options like laser.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser surgery: According to the National Skin Centre of Singapore, CO2 laser surgery is effective for treating syringomas. Because numerous syringomas can occur in a sensitive area e.g. around the eyelids, multiple sessions are usually required in order to attain excellent results. In a study of 99 patients who underwent CO2 laser surgery for syringomas, 84 patients required only 1 treatment, out of which 60 had their lesions more than 50% cleared and were satisfied with the results. Only 14 patients had recurrence of the syringomas. The energy used ranged from 3 to 10watts, in either the superpulse or conventional mode.
Other methods: There are other ways to treat syringomas, and they include Excision, Electrodesiccation, Curettage, and Dermabrasion. There is less information on the effectiveness of these methods and how they compare to electrocautery and CO2 laser surgery.
After Electrocautery or CO2 laser surgery, the lesions will typically turn into small crusts or scabs which will fall off spontaneously after about 1 week, leaving a pink mark that will fade and flatten gradually over time. Usually, the flattened area will eventually blend in with the normal skin, but on rare occasions, a residual white mark could remain.
Over the course of months or years after the treatment, new syringomas may appear. There is currently no treatment that will prevent new syringomas from growing or developing. However, you can be assured that treating syringomas will not cause more syringomas to appear, than those that would have grown in the first place, without the treatment.
Syringoma Treatment Costs
According to Dr. Nair, a dermatologist and an expert on JustAnswer.com, CO2 laser surgery could cost anywhere from $500-$1000 depending on the number of syringomas. He adds that the most cost effective way of having them removed would be through electrocautery, which should be between $250-$350, again depending on the number of syringomas being treated.