Dermatology Questions? Ask an Online Dermatologist.
I have this odd bump on my left arm near my elbow. It's not swollen and definitely not a bug bite. It doesn't itch or hurt and it's approximately 1 cm in diameter. It's been there for a while as far as I know. My right arm doesn't have anything like this. I know there could be many causes for this, but is this generally a cause for concern?
Expert: pradocs replied 4 years ago.
How long have you had this?Customer: I'm not sure. Over a month probably but I haven't been keeping steady track. Should I be worried? It's not discolored or anything and I don't have any other symptoms Doctor-Bob: Is it the same color as your skin? Is it flat or raised?Customer: Same color as my skin, and slightly raised.Doctor-Bob: When you press on it, is it hard, rubbery or soft and compressible?Customer: It's not "squishy" but not completely hard either. Basically, it can be compressed but is not soft.Doctor-Bob: Does it appear to be arising from a bone or bony prominence? Or is it just in the skin away from any bone?Customer: I honestly can't tell with 100% certainty, but if I grasp the entire area of skin, it feels like the bump rises with itDoctor-Bob: That's a good description. Now if you flex the elbow is it near the inner crease, the outer curve or in between? Customer: What do you mean by inner and outer crease?Doctor-Bob: Inner where the lines form when you flex your biceps, outer where the big bone is that you use to lean on a desk.Customer: The outer curve definitely. it's very close to the vertex of my elbow. Doctor-Bob: Do you have any rashes, abrasions, bites, or sores anywhere on the hand or arm on that side?Customer: No. Doctor-Bob: This doesn't sound like anything to worry about at this point.Customer: Okay. But since I can’t really tell if it's attached to the skin or further down near the bone, would it be more serious if it was under the skin or on the bone?Doctor-Bob: It could be a lymph node that has swelled a bit under the skin. They're like filters that filter junk from the fluids of the body (bacteria, viruses, allergens, etc.).Other possibilities would include a sebaceous cyst or mole of some sort, none of which are troubling.Customer: Are there really lymph nodes near the outer elbow? I knew there were some on the inner elbow but the out seems all bone to me and no room for any nodes.Doctor-Bob: In general you are correct, but I would have to examine to know for sure. there are "major chains" of lymph nodes that we can usually find with palpation, but there are probably thousands of smaller nodes scattered all around that can swell.I think the thing to do here is to wear an elbow pad to avoid any pressure on the area, and then watch it for the next 1-2 months to see if it changesIf it gets larger, or more raised, or changes color, or begins to hurt or itch or bleed, you would want to have it looked at promptly, otherwise it may shrink up or disappear on its own. Customer: Should I see my general doctor to a quick exam? It's not expensive for me.Doctor-Bob: If it's easy for you to do so, yes by all means. He should be able to confirm for you what it is. He may recommend a "watchful waiting" approach. If there is anything suspicious about its appearance he may arrange for a biopsy.Either way you will probably feel better knowing it’s been "eyeballed" by a doc!Customer: Okay will do thanks! Is it likely this could be a tumor? I’m a bit of a hypochondriac and terrified it could be some sort of cancer. Doctor-Bob: You're welcome. Don't worry about it being a tumor. That would be way down the list of possibilities. You are very young do this would be extremely unusual.Customer: Also, should I see a general doctor or a dermatologist?Doctor-Bob: General doc first, he can refer if necessary.Customer: Thanks.