Hidrocystomas - A Brief Review

Khashayar Sarabi, BS, MSIV; Amor Khachemoune, MD, CWS


September 06, 2006


Hidrocystomas -- rare, benign, cystic lesions of the skin -- can be either eccrine or apocrine, and are often found on the head and neck region.

Eccrine hidrocystomas are small and tense thin-walled cysts, ranging from 1 to 6 mm in diameter, and can occur as single or multiple lesions.[1] They are found predominantly in adult females and are located mostly on the periorbital and malar regions.

Apocrine hidrocystomas arise from the proliferation of apocrine glands and are usually solitary, with a diameter of 3 to 15 mm.[1] Apocrine lesions are also found mostly on the head and neck and along the eyelid margin near the inner canthus.[2] Apocrine lesions are less likely than eccrine lesions to occur at periorbital regions; nevertheless, the general distribution of lesions tends to occur in similar locations on the body for apocrine and eccrine hidrocystomas.[1]

Although rare and typically asymptomatic, eccrine and apocrine hidrocystomas are often of interest to physicians of different specialties. When encountered by practitioners, the approach to these lesions is facilitated by the clinical recognition of the subtypes and knowledge about their management. Furthermore, their close resemblance to certain, more serious skin disorders such as basal cell carcinomas necessitates an understanding of the histology of each type of hidrocystoma for the purposes of differential diagnosis. Hence, in this brief review we present a simplified approach to the diagnosis and management of both types of hidrocystomas.


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