Arch Craniofac Surg.  2020 Apr;21(2):123-126. 10.7181/acfs.2019.00752.

Skin malignancy initially misdiagnosed as a benignepidermal cyst

  • 1Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Anyang, Korea
  • 2Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Hallym University Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, Seoul, Korea


Skin cancer, which often occurs as a result of skin exposure to ultraviolet light radiation, usually presents with characteristic abnormal features, such as ulcerative lesions, irregular morphology, bleeding, and excessive growth. Therefore, skin cancer rarely resembles a benign tumor on visual inspection. Nonetheless, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma with nodular or polypoid features can have a similar appearance to that of benign tumors, meaning that they are sometimes misdiagnosed as benign. As benign and malignant tumors have some overlapping features, clinicians sometimes use additional imaging techniques such as ultrasonography to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis because even a malignant tumor that externally resembles a benign tumor generally has internal morphological features characteristic of malignancy, such as invasion and irregular borders. However, these imaging tools also have limitations, and punch or excisional biopsy can be needed if malignancy cannot be completely ruled out. Herein, we report a case of skin malignancy initially misdiagnosed as a benign epidermal cyst based on external visual inspection and ultrasonography.


Carcinoma, basal cell; Carcinoma, squamous cell; Epidermal cyst; Ultrasonography
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