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Seborrheic Keratoses

Seborrheic Keratoses are often confused with warts or moles, but they are quite different. Seborrheic keratoses are non-cancerous growths of the outer layer of skin. There may be just one growth or many which occur in clusters. They are usually brown, but can vary in color from light tan to black and range in size from a fraction of an inch in diameter to larger than a half-dollar. A main feature of seborrheic keratoses is their waxy, pasted-on or stuck-on appearance. They sometimes look like a dab of warm brown candle wax that has dropped onto the skin or like barnacles attached to the skin.

What causes seborrheic keratoses?
The exact cause of seborrheic keratoses is unknown; however, they seem to run in families. They are not caused by sunlight and can be found on both sun-exposed and non sun-exposed areas. Seborrheic keratoses are more common and numerous with advancing age. Although seborrheic keratoses may first appear in one spot and seem to spread to another, they are not contagious.

Who gets seborrheic keratoses?
Anyone may develop seborrheic keratoses. Some people develop many over time, while others develop only a few. As people age, they may simply develop more. Children rarely develop seborrheic keratoses. Seborrheic keratoses may erupt during pregnancy, following estrogen therapy, or in association with other medical problems.

Where do they appear and what do they look like?
Seborrheic keratoses are most often located on the chest or back, although they also can be found on the scalp, face, neck, or almost anywhere on the body. The growths usually begin one at a time as small, rough, itchy bumps which eventually thicken and develop a warty surface.

How serious are they?
Seborrheic keratoses are benign (non-cancerous). Unless many of them develop suddenly, or if they change color suddenly or grow quickly or bleed, they do not indicate a serious health problem. They may be unsightly, especially if they appear on the face. Removal may be recommended if they become large, irritated, itch, or bleed easily.

Can they be treated?
Most insurances do not cover treatment of these benign lesions unless they are painful, bleeding, or very itchy, or meet other criteria for medical necessity. For most seborrheic keratoses, your insurance company considers their treatment to be cosmetic. If you would like for us to remove them, the procedure fee is $150 for the first 14 lesions, and $150 per set of 15 lesions thereafter.

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