An atheroma (grits pouch) is a benign cyst that occurs in body regions that are more hairy. Read more now!


The atheroma is colloquially referred to as Grützbeutel. It is a benign cyst that usually sits in the scalp and bulges hemispherically. Atheromas develop in the hair root and can swell to the size of a hen's egg. Read more about causes and treatment of the atheroma.

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in doctor's letters or on incapacity certificates. L72

Product Overview


  • description

  • symptoms

  • Causes and risk factors

  • Examinations and diagnosis

  • treatment

  • Disease course and prognosis

Atheroma: description

As an atheroma, doctors refer to a "bump" spanned with a layer of skin, which is mainly filled with skin cells and fat. Such filled cavities that develop due to a clogged gland are also called retention cysts - in this case it is a Trichilemmal ( "Root sheaths cyst"). Colloquially, the atheroma is also referred to as Grützbeut.

Atheromas arise in the area of ​​the hair root, and therefore increasingly on body parts with many hairs. 90 percent of them are found on the hairy scalp, but sometimes on the neck, on the face, on the stomach or in the genital area.

An atheroma is usually one to two centimeters in size, in some cases larger. The cysts may be single or multiple. Basically every human being can develop atheromas, but some also have a hereditary predisposition - then many cysts are often found on the scalp at the same time.

Occasionally, the so-called epidermoid referred to as atheroma. These pea- to plum-sized nodes also develop from hair roots, but from their uppermost part (Infundibulum). They contain mainly peeled horn material, which is stacked on top of each other. By contrast, the "right" atheroma is filled with a very greasy substance.

Atheroma: symptoms

An atheroma is a visible elevation in the skin. It is full but elastic rather than hard. Some atheromas can be moved under the skin. After an inflammation, they can also be fixed on the scalp sit - here are 90 percent of atheromas. But they can also occur in other body parts, such as the neck, chest, abdomen or in the genital area. If several atheromas are present at the same time, they are sometimes grouped together.

Most atheromas have a diameter of one to two centimeters. However, they can swell to the size of a hen's egg - in rare cases even up to tennis ball size. For larger cysts, the skin that it spans is greatly distended. As a result, the hair that grows here is further apart or completely absent. In some cases, a gray or black dot may be seen on the surface of the atheroma.

Usually an atheroma has the color of the surrounding skin. It stands out in the first place by its protrusion. Unless it has become inflamed, it is painless and causes little discomfort. Depending on the seat and size, however, those affected find it to be cosmetically disturbing.

In the case of inflammation, the skin reddened in the area of ​​the atheroma, it swells and touch or slight pressure causes pain. If additional pus builds up within the atheroma capsule, it is an abscess.

Atheroma: causes and risk factors

An atheroma usually develops in the scalp of one hair root (Follicle) - more precisely from the narrow canal, in which the area of ​​the hair lies, which is still hidden under the skin. With every hair a small sebaceous gland opens into this canal. It ensures that the hair is coated with a film of oily liquid - tallow. If the sebaceous glands are very active, the hair will quickly become greasy.

The excretory duct of the sebaceous gland can be found in a specific area, the so-called isthmus, be constipated, for example, by small fat crystals or skin cells. The sebum can not flow away unhindered, but the gland continues to produce it. Gradually, the sebum accumulates and the hair root is inflated to a round "bubble" - it creates an atheroma.

This mechanism also explains a specific, characteristic feature of the atheroma: the skin that surrounds the cyst is similar in structure to the skin that surrounds each individual hair root. It is also called a trichilemmal cyst. When looking at an atheroma shell under the microscope, it can usually be seen that it is keratinized with keratin; This hard material also forms hair and nails. Through this skin, the atheroma is different from other cysts and tumors.

Atheroma: examinations and diagnosis

The diagnosis of atheroma usually represents a general practitioner or a dermatologist (dermatologist).For example, he asks the person concerned, since when the cyst exists, whether it causes him pain and whether there are other "knobs" or gave. Usually the doctor quickly recognizes an atheroma on closer examination. He also feels how the cyst reacts to pressure and whether it can be moved (palpation).

Whether it is a "true" atheroma (trichilemmal cyst) or an epidermoid cyst can sometimes be reliably differentiated only by a histologic examination in the laboratory. The analysis of the tissue takes place after the doctor has surgically removed the atheroma. A histological examination is also important to determine if it is not a malignant proliferation.

Atheroma: treatment

For the treatment of the atheroma, a dermatologist is usually the right contact person. If the atheroma is small, does not grow further or does not bother the patient, sometimes no treatment is necessary. However, if the atheroma is inflamed, or if it is unclear whether malignant cells can be involved, you should have the atheroma removed by a dermatologist.

If you have the atheroma removed

The atheroma is usually surgically removed on an outpatient basis and under local anesthesia. The doctor makes sure that he cuts away the atheroma, together with its capsule and the associated excretory duct. If parts of it remain in the skin, there is a high risk that the atheroma will come back.

When the atheroma is inflamed

Danger: In no case should you remove an atheroma yourself, for example by trying to express the contents - otherwise you risk an infection. Manipulation with the fingers and fingernails risks introducing bacteria into the skin tumor. In a bacterial infection, the atheroma swells, it reddens, feels warm and hurts when touched. If there is an increase in pus within the cyst, which can not drain, an abscess develops. This requires in each case a medical treatment. Often the doctor then uses an antibiotic for therapy. If you have an atheroma that bothers you, always visit the family doctor!

Atheroma: disease course and prognosis

How fast an atheroma grows varies from case to case. Some even grow to a certain size and then stagnate. If an atheroma causes no discomfort, it does not require surgery, but many sufferers want it for cosmetic reasons.

Surgical removal is usually necessary when an atheroma becomes infected and inflamed. Although it can be in the same place again after the surgery atheroma but if properly removed, the risk is low.

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