pilomatricoma, pilomatrixoma

This is an unusual benign tumor of the skin of the head and neck region. It is usually found before the age of two as a stony-hard pea-sized lump under the skin. Only about a fourth of them are tender or inflammed. Occasionally there can be multiple tumors. The cheek, the area in front of the ear, side of the neck are the most common locations; the tumors may appear on the forehead, eyelids, or scalp as well.

The slowly growing tumor is made up of hair precursor cells, hence the name pilo- (hair) -matrix- (as in a generative matrix) -oma (tumor), and becomes calcified. Hence the rock-hard feel. They are removed surgically and do not grow back.

The older name for this tumor is "calcifying epithelioma of Malherbe," which older physicians prefer because it demonstrates their erudition. Or crankiness - take your pick. A rare bird you might hear of once in the proverbial blue moon. I just threw it in for grins.

And to demonstrate my erudition 8-) OBTW, I have found both spellings in the medical literature; there is more information found searchng for "pilomatricoma" than "pilomatrixoma."

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