medical moluscums

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin disease, caused by a virus. This virus spreads from person to person. People can get molluscum by sharing towels and clothing. Wrestlers and gymnasts may get it from touching infected mats. Skin-to-skin contact also spreads the virus. The only sign of molluscum is pink or flesh-colored bumps on the skin and can appear anywhere. These bumps often appear around 7 weeks (can be longer) after exposure to the virus. Most people get about 10 to 20 bumps on their skin. It is possible to continue to develop new bumps over the course of 1-2 years, but treatment of these lesions by a dermatologist can shorten the course of the infection, prevent spread to other parts of the body, and prevent spread to others.

When the bumps appear on the skin, they often:
◦ Begin as small, firm, dome-shaped growths.
◦ Have a surface that feels smooth, waxy, or pearly.
◦ Are flesh-colored or pink.
◦ Have a dimple in the center. The dimple may be filled with a thick, white substance that is cheesy or waxy (that is the virus).
◦ Are usually painless, but some bumps itch, especially if you develop a rash around them.
◦ Turn red as the person’s immune system fights the virus; you can develop an itchy rash around them in this stage.

Who gets molluscum contagiosum?
◦ Most often seen in children.
◦ People with a history of atopic dermatitis (eczema) are at a higher risk of developing this condition.
◦ When a person has a weak immune system due to a medical condition such as AIDS or treatment for cancer, the person can get a dramatic number of molluscum contagiosum lesions.

Treatment:
◦ A dermatologist can often diagnose molluscum contagiosum by looking at your skin. The bumps can look like warts, chickenpox, and even skin cancer. If this happens, your dermatologist will scrape off a bit of infected skin, so it can be examined under a microscope (a biopsy).
Cryosurgery: The dermatologist freezes the bumps with liquid nitrogen; this may need to be repeated every 4-6 weeks until the lesions are gone.
Curettage: The dermatologist uses a small tool called a curette to scrape the bumps from the skin; this removes the virus from the bump and causes the bump to heal; this may need to be repeated every 4-6 weeks until the lesions are gone.
Topical (applied to the skin) therapy: Your dermatologist can apply various acids and blistering solutions to destroy the bumps. These work by destroying the top layers of the skin.
Retinoid creams: can prescription cream be applied at home and irritate the skin and draw your immune system in to fight the virus.
Imiqumod cream: this prescription cream can be applied at home and helps your immune system fight the virus.